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A sketch of the 
history of 

Benton County, 



.. ^STO D . 






— OF THE- 

History of Benton County, 


J^nVCES H. IjJL"2" 

't Ai 

Prepared for the Centennial Celebration of July 4th, 1876, 
at Warsaw, Missouri. 


The Winchell & Ebert Printing and Lithographing Company. 



I was selected to prepare a Sketch of the History of Benton 
County, Missouri, in response to the following resolution and proc- 
lamation : 


Wherbas, a Joint resolution of the Senate and House of Representatives of the 
United States was duly approved on the 13th day of March last, which resolution is 
as follows : 

Be it Resolved by the Senate and the House of Representatives of the United Stales of 
■ America in Cotigress Assembled: 

That it be and is hereby recommended by the Senate and House of Representa- 
tives, to the people of the several States, that they assemble in their several counties 
or towns on the approaching centennial anniversary of our national independence, 
and that they cause to have delivered on such day a historical sketch of such county 
or town from its foundation, and that a copy of said sketch bo filed in print or 
manuscript in the clerk's ofiice of said county, and an additional copy in print or 
manuscript be filed in the office of the Librarian of Congress, to the intent that a 
complete record may be thus obtained ol the progress of our institutions during the 
first centennial of their existence. 

And Whereas, It is deemed proper that such recommendation be brought to 
the notice and knowledge of the people of the United States ; now, tlierefore, I, 
Ulysses S. Grant, President of the United States, do hereby declare and make known 
the same, in the hope that the object of such resolution may meet the approval of 
the people of the United States, and that proper steps may be taken to carry the 
same into effect. 

Given under my hand at the City of Washington, the 25th day of May, in the 
year of our Lord 1876, and of the independence of the United States ohe 100th. 

By the President: U. S. GRANT. 

Hamilton Fish, Secretary of Slate. 

Since this duty was assigned rae, early in June, I have devoted 
nearly all my time to it. I soon found that I should not have 
time to prepare a history of the County, in detail, up to the pres- 
ent time ; and I thought best to devote my inquiries to its earlier 

I thought it more important to prepare a record of this time, 
because nearly all those who participated in its events, have passed 
away. Even now, I find it very difficult to get reliable informa- 
tion in regard to the first settlement of the county. Although I 
have used every means possible to get at the facts, correctly, I 
fear some errors may be found. 

Among those to whom 1 am ospocially indebted for informa- 
tion and aid, are Judge F. P. Wright, Jno. S. Linglo of Sedalia, E. 
Cameron of Pleasant Hill, A. C. Widdicome of Boonville, Dr. 
Freed, Henry C. Carpenter, Samuel P. Wetzel, James J. Donald, 
Charles Walls, J. G. Phillips, Judge S H. Davis, E. T. Condley, 
Mrs. Jno. B. Lemon, Bonj. Harris, Geo. Blanton, Albert Kincaid, 
Wm. F. Hughes, E. W. Kamsey, C. G. Heath and M. K. McGrath, 
Secretary of State! I am greatly indebted to Mr. E. T. Rhea for 
his patience in hunting up old records in his oflSco for me, and to 
Mr. P. D. Hastain for aid in getting information from these records 
in shape for use. 

Warsaw, Mo., July 4, 1876. 




































The first knowledge which the whites had of the region of the 
Osage, was obtained by De Soto's expedition, nearly 300 years 
ago, seventy years before Virginia was settled. In the summer of 
1541 this expedition reached its most northern limit, supyjosed to 
be on the Ozark Mountains, in the vicinity of vSpringfield. An 
exploring party, which was sent to examine the regions to the 
north, reported that they were almost a desert. The country 
nearer the Missouri was said, by the Indians, to be thinly 
inhabited ; the bison abounded there so much that no maize could 
be cultivated, and the few Indians were hunters. 

I can find no further mention of this region for about 150 
years. In 1705, the French, of Louisiana, sent an exploring expe- 
dition up the Missouri as far as Kansas City. In the year of 1720, 
the French, under Eenault, began their first mining and fur 
trading in Southeast Missouri ; and it is probable that this imme- 
diate country was first explored by parties sent out from that 
vicinity, and by the traders at Kaskaskia, in Illinois. It is very 
probable that the Osage was visited by the French in search of 
minerals and furs 150 years ago, and that they continued their 
expeditions up to and after the time when the country came under 
the control of the English. After the settlement of Saint Louis, 
in 1764, the fur trade was an important branch of its business, and 
there can be little doubt that the Osage was frequented regularly 
by the agents of the fur traders. But I have been unable to 
obtain the slightest account of their trade on the river, or even 
the names of the persons engaged in it. The only record they 
have left, within my knowledge, is the names of some of the 
chief branches of the Osage. The Auglaise, the Gravois, the 
Pomme de Terre (Potato Eiver), the Tebos, the original spelling of 
which was Thibaut, and the Marias de Cygnes, named from 
the swans on its lakes, evidently obtained their names from 
the French. Thibaut was probably the name of a Frenchman 
who was connected in some way with these streams, and gave his 
name to them. 

Tho French doubtless continued to trap, hunt and trade with 
the Indians until the first pioneer Americans engaged in the same 
pursuits. Previous to 1820, how long 1 cannot tell, two French- 
men, Jeroux and Trudais, had a trading post with the Indians in 
Vernon County. The only definite account 1 have of the French 
in this County, outside of Hogle and Pensinoe's trading post, is of 
three hunters who lived here within the memory of the old 
settlers. One, named Mishler, lived near the mouth of Iloglo's 
Creek ; one, named Fouche, in tho bottom, now in the Isaac Wick- 
liff field, and one named Diowiddee, who lived on the bank of the 
river, at the head of Dinwiddoe Island, a little below the mouth of 
Grand Kiver. This is the first and the last that seems to be 
known definitely of the French in Benton. 



The first allusion to the Indians of this country is in the 
History of De Soto's Expedition, where they are described as a 
tribe of hunters, not raising corn like the Indians of the Eastern 
and Southern States. In 1804, Lewis and Clark speak of them 
as follows: "The Osage owes its name to a nation inhabiting its 
banks, at a considerable distance from the Missouri. Their present 
name, however, seems to have originated among the French 
traders; for among themselves and their neighbors they are 
called Wabashes. They number between 1,200 and 1,300 warriors, 
and consist of three tribes : — the Great Osages, of about 500 
warriors, living in a village on the south bank of the river ; the 
Little Osages, of nearly half that number, residing at a distance 
of about six miles from them ; and the Arkansas band, a colony of 
Osages of 600 warriors, who left them some years ago, under 
command of a Chief called Big Foot, and settled on the Vermillion 
River, a branch of the Arkansas. In person, the Osages are 
among the largest and best formed Indians, and are said to 
possess fine military capacities ; but residing as they do in villages, 
and having made considerable advances in Agriculture, they seem 
less addicted to war than their northern neighbors, to whom the 
use of the rifle gives a great superiority." At the time of the 
location of Harmony Mission, in 1821, near where Papinsville now 
stands, in Bates County, the Big Osages had quite a large village 
eight miles northeast of the present town of Nevada, governed 
by a noted Chief called White Hare ; and there was also a village 
of Little Osages three miles north of the present site of Balltown. 
These were, in all probability, the villages described by Lewis and 
Clark. It is stated in Wetmore's Gazetteer, in 1836, that " One of 
the largest mounds in this country has been thrown up on the 
Osage, within the last thirty or forty years by the Osages, near 
the great Osage village, in honor of one of their deceased chiefs" ; 
and the writer claims that this proves that the mounds of the 


State were thrown up by the later Indians, and not by an older 
people. The recent examinations, however, of the State Geologist, 
show that all the large mounds in the western part of the State 
are natural, and not created by human agency. Smaller villages 
of the Osages were numerous on the upper Osage. Several con- 
siderable ones were located near the mouth of Pomme de Terre. 
One of about 300 wigwams stood in the prairie bottom now 
covered by the farms of Mr. N. Campbell, Mr. Johnson and Mr. 
Holland. Five large heaps of stone on the ridge, at the junction, 
and between Little and Big Pomme de Terre Creeks, mark their 
graves. They had several small fields in the vicinity. Another 
small village stood where Judge Alexander settled. He gave 
them 560.00 for their claim and clearing of seven acres. A larger 
village stood at the mouth of Hogle's Creek, and at this village 
Hogle's store stood. The Big Pomme de Terre, up to about 1835, 
was the dividing line between the Indians and the whites ; and 
Hogle was a Government agent to keep out the whites, and 
prevent them from selling liquor to the Indians. In the latter 
duty he is said to have had poor success. There was a small 
village in the Heath bend. The Shawnees had a village of 200 or 
300 persons on what is now Mrs. Stewart's field, in the Shawnee 
Bend, opposite the mouth of Grand River. A few families also 
lived in the bottom between the junction of Little Tebo and 
Sterrett's Creek. Judge Lindsay bought out one of their clear- 
ings, and Milton Kincaid bought another, at the place where Mr. 
Albert Kincaid's house now stands. He gave them $9.00. 

The Indians were probably moved out of the State to their 
reservations in Kansas, over which there has been lately such 
important litigation, about the year 1835. Their title to the land 
was purchased, as near as I can ascertain, in 1808. The Govern- 
ment had a trading post at Fort Osage, now called Sibley, in the 
north-east corner of Jackson County, and dealt with the Indians 
in this region through her agents there. They continued to come 
into the country on hunting expeditions for several years after the 
County was organized; perhaps as late as 1840. There is little of 
romance or tragedy connected with their history in this county. 
They were peaceable in their intercourse with the whites. The 
only affair of a hostile nature in which they were engaged is the 
following, which is narrated to me by one of the participants : 

Some time after the Indians moved out of the county, about 
twenty hunters, with their ponies, squaws and papooses, came in 


on a hunting expedition and camped on Niangua. It was report- 
ed to the authorities at Warsaw that they were killing the hogs 
of the settlers. D. C. Ballou, who was Colonel of the militia, 
called out a company, of which Thomas J. Bishop was Captain^ 
and J. G. Phillips First Lieutenant. They marched down to the 
Niangua through the rain, and surrounded the Indian camp while 
the hunters were all out hunting. After the guards were placed 
around the camp, an old squaw, wife of the Chief, Capt. Bob, 
mounted a pony, and attempted to leave the camp. Cabel Crews 
was on guard where she tried to go out. He ordered and 
motioned her back, whereupon she drew a butcher knife from her 
stocking and prepared to fight. Capt. Bishop cried out, " Knock 
her off, Crews," and Crews promptly did so, cutting her head till 
the blood flowed freely. The other squaws and children raised a 
terrible uproar when she fell. Crews was about to strike her 
again, when Lieutenant Phillips cried out, " You Crews ! don't you 
hit her ; you'll raise a bloody war right here." Crews obeyed the 
pacific order of his commander, and war was avoided. The 
hunters came in one by one, or in small parties, and the locks 
were taken off their guns; the guns of the militia being so wet 
that they would not fire. The husband of the old squaw was 
very indignant when he learned of the harsh treatment she had 
received, and tried to find out who struck her. No further vio- 
lence ensued, however, and the Indians were brought up and 
quietly moved out of the County. 



A good deal has been said about the ancient remains of the 
Osage Valley, and some early writers claimed that such remains 
were very numerous, and indicated an older people than we have 
any account of. But a little acquaintance with the country has 
shown that very little work was ever done here by human agency 
before the settlement by the whites. 

The most important old remains, on the Osage, are at Halley's 
Bluff, two miles above Belvoir, and in that vicinity. On the Bluff 
are the remains of three furnaces, and at the foot of the Bluff are 
twenty-three jug-shaped holes, excavated in the rock. Around the 
furnaces, and covering the approach to the excavations, are the 
remains of earth and stone fortifications. 

In the neighborhood are other excavations in the earth, and a 
few miles down the river is another old furnace. 

Some have supposed this work to have been done by De Soto, 
during his expedition in 1541-2 ; but the existence of pick 
marks in the soft sand stone, seems to disprove that the work was 
done so long ago. It was, in all probability, done by the French, 
who are known to have traded with the large Indian villages in 
the immediate vicinity. 

The lines of beautiful mounds running off north and south 
from this place, and the several branches of the Osage coming 
together here, in so lovely a country, made it a prominent location 
with the Indians, and drew to this point the chief trade of the 

In this County are found the remains of several furnaces, in 
the bottom, at the lower end of Henry Breshears' field, four miles 
from Warsaw. They wore doubtless constructed by the French 
for testing their minerals when prospecting, or possibly for smelt- 
ing a considerably quantity of lead ore, which they may have 
found. The early miners in Southwest Missouri used furnaces 
similar to a lime kiln to smelt lead. Near Joseph Monroe's, on a 


hill side, on the ridge between Grand Eiver and Osage, is a spot 
where several square rods have been dug over to a slight depth. 
It is doubtless one of the many places, which, as our geologists 
decide, with every show of reason, were dug over by the Indians 
to get flint. 

Thei'e are in the County some heaps of stone, on the bluffs, 
that are called Indian graves. One is on the bluff of Little Tebo, 
near Mr. G-eorge Blanton's, The largest that I have heard of are 
on the ridge near Mr. John Holland's house. There are five large 
mounds of loose stones, in which skeletons and trinkets have been 
found. There are also some graves on the bluff below the Sulphur 
Springs, on the Osage. 

Soon after Benton County was organized, perhaps in 1838, 
several Frenchmen came up the river in search of buried silver* 
They stated that many years before, a company of Frenchmen 
were coming down the river in boats, with a large quantity of 
silver coin, or bullion ; that the Indians pursued them along the 
banks till the French, becoming alarmed, abandoned their boats, 
buried their silver and guns, and took to the woods, near the mouth 
of Pomme de Terre. One of the company claimed to be a brother 
of one of the party who buried the silver, and to have received 
minute descriptions of the locality where the silver was buried, 
and of marks that had been made to point out the spot. The 
searchers found, at the lower end of the bottom, where Henry 
Breshear's farm now is, a rock, placed in a notch cut in a tree, and 
on digging at the spot toward which the rock pointed, they actu- 
ally found a large lot of old guns. They also, it is said, found guns 
in the bottom at the head of Dean Island. But, after along search 
for the silver, they went away without success. The old guns 
were thrown around a store at the Warsaw ferry for a long time" 
afterwards. An old resident has spent much time this spring of 
1876 searching for the silver. 

Tradition does not tell where the silver came from, though the 
popular story is that it was mined and smelted at the old furnaces 
up the river. This is entirely improbable, for if valuable silver 
mines had ever been worked on the river, the knowledge of them 
would not have been lost. If there was any silver buried, and 
there really seems some reason to think there was, it was proba- 
bly obtained by trade at the Indian towns in Yernon, or brought 
over the plains by adventurers from Santa Fe, who fell on the 


head of the Osage on their way back to the Mississippi. The last 
suggestion is not entirely improbable, for as early as 1720, the 
Spaniards at Santa Fe, hearing of the settlements of the French 
on the Upper Mississippi, and wishing to push them back, entered 
into a league with the Osage Indians to exterminate the French 
and the Missouri Indians, who were steadfast friends of the French. 
In pursuance of the plan, the Spanish came across from Santa Fe 
with a large force, and with their families and stock, to form a 
settlement. They, fell in with the Missouris, thinking them their 
allies (the Osages), and while off their guard were all slaughtered 
except one priest. Trading expeditions went from the Missouri 
River to Santa Fe as early as 1805 and 1812, and it is possible that 
a party of these traders may have returned down the Osage with 

At an early day a large quantity of the bones of the mammoth, 
or mastodon, were found at two places in this County — one on the 
farm now owned by the Chas. Wickliff heirs, on the Osage ; the 
other near the farm of Alexander Breshears, on the Big Pomme 
de Terre. At the Wickliff farm Messrs. Case and Eedmond took 
out a large part, perhaps nearly the whole, of a large skeleton, 
shipped it to Cincinnati, I think, and obtained a large sum of 
money for it. One of the tusks is said to have been nine feet 
long. Others have obtained small quantities of bones at the same 
place. Drs. Sill & Crawford, a few years ago, took out some very 
interesting specimens, which they still have at their store. 

On the Pomme de Terre a Scotchman, named Cott, took out 
with little labor, a large, complete, and well preserved skeleton ; 
took it east, and is said to have sold it for ^20,000. The fame of 
his success caused others to dig for the bones, and two brothers, 
named Bradley, from Boone County, went to work at the Breshears 
deposits, kept from fifteen to twenty hands at work for several 
months, and took out a large quantity of bones. But the spring 
at the place so filled the diggings with water that they had to 
employ a pump to keep the water out, and worked at great expense ; 
and the bones they secured were so badly decomposed that on 
coming to the light and air they generally fell to pieces, and the 
Bradleys were broken by the venture. 



The first location in the Coianty by whites, of which I have 
any distinct account, was made by a German named John F. 
Hogle, and a Frenchman named Pensinoe. They established a 
trading post at an Indian village at the mouth of Hogle's Creek, 
in what is now the Stephens field, on the Osage. Other Indian 
villages were near them. In what year they came I am unable to 
learn, but they were probably there several years before any other 
set^tlers came, Hogle was an agent of the G-overument with the 
Indians, and from him Hogle's Creek took its name. In 1832 
Thomas J. Bishop, a young man, came out and was employed by 
Hogle as clerk, and soon succeeded him in business. The post 
was known to the early settlers as Bishop's store. This store 
probably continued in operation till 1837 or 1838, till the Indians 
left, and business was done at Warsaw. 

The first trace of English speaking people of which I have 
been able to obtain any information, is the old Boonville and 
Springfield road. This road is spoken of in the earliest records of 
the County as the "Old Eoad," and was known among the first 
settlers as the " old road," or the " old military road." From 
these names my inference is that the road was originally cut out 
by the United States government for military purposes. It 
extended from Palmyra, on the Mississippi river, through Boon- 
ville, Springfield and Fayetteville, Arkansas, to Fort Smith, and 
was the chief route of travel from the upper Mississippi to 
Arkansas, Louisiana and Texas. It was regularly located and cut 
out to the legal width by act of March 7, 1835. The Old 
Harmony Mission road, leaving the Boonville and Springfield road 
near Cole Camp, and running through the northern part of the 
County, was probably traveled before Benton County was settled, 
the Mission having been established in 1821 by missionaries fi*om 
New York, who went up the Osage in keel boats. 

Bzckiel Williams is commonly understood, and I believe cor- 
rectly, to have been the first Anglo-Saxon settler in Benton 


County. According to the best information I can get, he came in 
the fall of 1830, or early in 1831, and settled first on the Pordney 
place, and soon afterwards, on the well-known old AVilliams farm, 
in the bottom, about three miles southwest of Cole Camp, on the 
old road. He was one of the followers of Lewis and Clark in 
their expedition across the Rocky Mountains in 1804. Oliver 
L. G. Brown, about the same time, settled on Cole Camp Creek, 
near the crossing of the old road. About the time Mr. Williams 
came, or a little later, two young men named Ross built a cabin 
on Ross Creek, near its mouth, and remained there a short time, 
and from them the creek takes its name. In February, 1831, 
Mannen Duren built a cabin in Cole Camp bottom, opposite the 
mouth of Duren's Creek, which took its name from him. He 
came from Pettis county during the winter season, with his stock, 
which wintered chiefly on the grass in the bottoms. He settled 
at a very early day on the old road, where Marcellus Jeans now 
lives, William Kelley having first settled the plac6. 

In the fall of 1831 Lewis Bledsoe located where the old road 
crossed the Osage, about one mile and a half above Warsaw, and 
established a ferry. He built his cabin on the river bank, on a 
spot now in Dr. Crawford's field. A man named Yearger had, 
soon after, a small store at the same place. In the fall of 1831, 
Stephen A. Howser settled on the point close to Gillett's mill, in 
Warsaw. I have reason to suppose, but no positive iutormation, 
that he bought a small clearing of the Kickapoo Indians, who, 
like himself, had been attracted to the spot by the rich soil, and 
the fine spring in front of Charles Wall's house. His house 
remained for six years the only one on the present site of Warsaw. 
County Court was occasionally held at his house before the Court 
House was built. He and his sons have been quite noted in the 
history of the County. He was County Collector in 1835 and 
1836, was one of the first Justices of the Peace, and in 1840 was 
appointed County Judge for a short time, to fill the vacancy 
occasioned by the death of Judge Lindsay. He and his eons were 
warm supporters of the Jones party in the "Slicker War," and his 
son Thomas, in an affray at Warsaw, stabbed Habaugh, a Turk- 
man, and was himself shot hy Mackey, another Turkman. His 
son, Stephen H. Howser, was the famous Houge Howser, who 
attained a wide spread reputation as a lawless man ; George 
Howser, another son, was killed at his home, near Warsaw, early 
in the war of 1861, and his brother, Rice Howser, was killed in 


the battle at Cole Camp. He was at the time Postmaster at 

Judge William White settled, in 1831, or possibly in 1832, on the 
Jessie Drake place. Philip Hall settled at the same time on the 
James li. Coe place, and shortly afterwards on the old Philip 
Hall place, west of Jesse Drake's. He bought a clearing from the 
Indians, and had one of the first mills in the County. 

In the spring of 1832, as near as I can learn, Geo. H. Hughes, 
father of William F. Hughes, Levi Odinoal, Thomas Moon, and 
one Alsup came from Cooper Countj^, expecting to make money 
by raising stock on the rye grass in the bottoms. A severe 
winter killed the grass, and much of their stock perished. They 
first settled on the old Tyree place. In the fall of 1832, Sympkins 
Harryman and Daniel Nave settled in the same neighborhood. He 
at first settled, for a short time, on the W. H. Williams, or Doss 
place, near Fairfield. Wm. Rippetoe settled about the same time 
on the E. B. Cunningham place. He was the first white man on 
Pomme de Terre. 

Among the settlers in 1832 was .Judge George Alexander, who 
settled and remained for about three years on the place now 
owned by Mrs. Thurman, on the waters of Turkey Creek. Ho 
was engaged in barter with the Indians on the west of Pomme de 
Terre, which was then the line between the whites and Indians. 
About 1835, when the country west of Pomme de Terre was 
opened to the whites, he bought an Indian village and clearing at 
the farm now owned by hie son, John H. Alexander, paying the 
Indians $60.00. Ho was elected County Judge at the first 
election, in 183G, and continued in the position till 1814. He was 
a supporter of the Joneses, to whom ho was related by marriage. 
He continued a prominent citizen of the county until his death, in 
1875, His sons were well known citizens. Mat. was Lieutenant 
in Captain Holloway's company in the Mexican war. Tom was 
captured, in the war of 18G1, and taken out at Osceola and shot. 
Frank was badly wounded early in the war by the militia. He 
lingered, helpless and in great suffering, till 1868. .John still lives 
on his father's old farm, a respected citizen. 

Capt. John Holloway also settled in the county in April, 1832. 
He left Kentucky when a boy, and served in Northern Illinois and 
Wisconsin in the Black Ilawk war. After quitting the army he 
spent a year in Illinois, and then hitched up his team and started 


west. He crossed the Osage at Bledsoe's Ferry, moved up the 
river, around the Shawnee Bend, till ho reached the bluffs above 
the old John B. Wright place, from which he had a magnificent 
view of the beautiful prairie bottom, now known as Heath's Bend, 
llis fancy was so captivated that he at once made up his mind 
that there should be his future home, and in spite of the prudent 
advice of his wife to go over and examine the place first, he at 
once went to work and made a raft to transfer his efi'ects over the 
river. He settled on the farm now occupied by his son-in-law, 
C. G. Heath. He became one of the most important men in our 
early history. He was the first Treasurer of the County. His 
military experience, his gallantry, and his popularity, made him 
the military leader, the Miles Standish of the early settlers. He 
was the chief man on the field of militia musters. He com- 
manded the militia in the Slicker war. At one time, when about 
one hundred armed Turk men were in Warsaw, some of them 
accused him of mistreating a woman or child on one of his expe- 
ditions in the south part of the County. He instantly boiled over 
with rage, and mounting a work bench in their midst, heaped 
on them the most bitter abuse and defiance. The spectators con- 
fidently expected a bloody fight, but the Turks contented them- 
selves with promising to settle with him afterwards. When the 
Mexican war broke out, ho raised a company, in the summer of 
1846, and marched across the plains under command of Col. 
Sterling Price, to New Mexico. He was among the first to catch 
the California gold fever, and went across to that territory with 
one of the earliest trains. He returned to Missouri, and started 
back to California with a drove of cattle in 1853. On the routo 
ho was drowned in crossing Green Elver, near Salt Lake. 

In 1832, the first settlements were made on Little Tebo. 
Milton Kincaid, John Graham, Sr.,and George Blanton, with their 
families, came up from the Auglaise, where they had stopped for 
a year or two. Kincaid bought out an Indian clearing and wig- 
wams, on the farm now owned by his son, Albert Kincaid. Ho 
gave the Indian §0.00. Graham settled on the farm near Spring 
Grove Church, now owned by Mr, Slinker, and George ]ilanton on 
the place now owned by Mr. James W. Wright, higher up the 
creek. About the same time John H. Howard and Lewis Johnson 
settled oil the Osago below Waisaw, uviw where Mr. 1', W. Duck- 
worth now lives. 


The above names comprise all the settlers prior to 1833, con- 
cerning whom I have been able to get any certain information. 
They might be called the pioneers of Benton County. From this 
time the immigration seems to have been steady and considerable. 
About 1833 a great tide of emigration westward began to flow all 
along the western border. The veto by General Jackson of the 
bill to re-charter the United States Bank, in 1832, led to the estab- 
lishment of innumerable State banks all over the country. These 
were generally founded on insufficient capital, and were anxious 
to get their bills as far away from home as possible, so they would 
not be sent in for redemption. They offered every possible 
encouragement to borrowers, and the ease with which money 
could be obtained to pay for land at the Western offices, caused 
vast sums to bo invested in this way. The wildest excitement in 
land speculation ever known in the history of the country sprang 
up, and raged till President Jackson issued his famous specie 
circular in 1836, requiring lands to be paid for in coin. Then the 
bills of the "wild cat" banks were sent in for redemption, the 
banks went down, and the crash of 1837 came, precipitating a 
financial ruin and depression from which the country did not 
recover for a number of years. 

It seems to have been during this fever of land speculation 
that the first great tide of immigration settled in Missouri. The 
particulars of the settlement of Benton County during this time, 
from 1833 to 1836, when the first census was taken, I have been 
unable to obtain, and if I had them, their narration would be too 
lengthy for this sketch. I can only make some general allusions 
to the settlement of localities not before mentioned. Before 
any white settlers came on to this creek, three free negroes settled 
on it near Fairfield ; one, called Edmond, in the bottom, now in 
Albert Crabtree's field, and two others, called Lige and Manuel, at 
the " Free Nigger Spring," above Fairfield. On the Pomme de 
Terre, among the first settlers were Albert Crabtree's father, 
Peter and Nathan Huff, who settled on the E. K. Bailey place ; Alex 
Breshears and Sampson Norton, on Breshears' Prairie ; above 
them the Joneses and Brookshires, famous in the Slicker war. In 
the same vicinity were Samuel "Weaver and Samuel Daniels. On 
the prairie hollow were Isaac Saulsbury and Edward P. Bell. 
Beyond Pomme de Terre, in what is now the northwest corner of 
Hickory County, were Judge Joseph C. Montgomery, on the 


Samuel Walker place, Samuel Judy at (^uincy, and John Graliam 
near the same place. On lloglo'ti Creek, after the post at IIo<fle'8 
store, among the first settlers was James M. Wisdom, father of 
Andrew J. and Hardin P. Wisdom, and other children, still 
residents of the County. So thinly settled was the County at 
that time, that Mr. Wisdom had to go to Niangua, from whence 
he had moved, to get hands to help raise his house. On Turkey 
Creek, among the first were Samuel "Weaver, on the AVainwright 
])lace ; Duvald Beck, on the Leo Phegly farm; Walter McFarland 
and W. II. Burnett, on the places they now own ; B. II, Williams, 
Joseph Hooper, David Kid well, Jacob Dawson, on the AV. W. Gal- 
brieth place, John Scaggs, on the Wm. P. Kays place, and Mr. 
Hudson, on the Walthal place. Mr. Wm. Kays, father of Wm. P. 
Kays, had one of the first mills in the County, on the Osage, a 
short distance above the mouth of Turkey Creek. On Deer 
Creek, the first, and a very early settler, was Elmore, who lived 
about two and a half miles above the mouth of the creek. Other 
early settlers on this creek were Elijah Doty, on the Wm. Gunn 
place, Jonas Dawson and George Kichardson. Ou the Osage, below 
Warsaw, among the early settlers were John ^I. Williams and 
Wm. Denton, on the bottom below Duroc, on the land known as 
the Denton land. About the Duckworth place was Isaac Nichol- 
son, besides Howard and Johnson before mentioned. Higher up 
was AVilliara Jeans, on the Kamsey place, and the Donaghes in 
the same neighborhood. Above Warsaw were the Stewarts and 
John B. and Montgomery Wright, in the Shawnee Bend ; James 
and John Eoberts on the Balliett place ; Isaac Wickliff on his old 
farm ; James Browder, just above ; John and William Dean, at 
the Dean Island; Emanuel Case, on the Henry Cunningham place. 
On Grand Iliver, the first settlement was made at the Bettie Foster 
Ford, by one of the Fosters; others of the Fosters, and Anglins 
Avero among the first on Grand Eiver. Adamson Cornwall, on the 
Joshua Graham place, and Cabel Crews, on the old Claycomb farm, 
were among the first on Big Tebo. On Little Tebo, among the 
first after those already named, were Elias Hughes, on the place 
now owned by Wm. 0. Hughes; Judge John W. Lindsay, in the 
bottom between the junction of Stcrrett's Creek and Little Tebo; 
one of the Linns in the same vicinity ; Henry Davis, on the 
Gregory place ; Andy Bryant, on the place owned by William H, 
Davidson ; Judge Wm. White, on tho Radford place; Davis Eedd, 


on tho Osborn place ; and Adam Neas whore Lis son Samuel 
Neas now lives. On Cole Camp, besides those already named, 
among the early settlers were John Tyree, Jacob Carpenter, 
George Cathey, Travis Cox, Wesley Holland, father of Dr. W. S. 
Ilolland, Albert Nichols, John AY. Eastwood, Samuel Fowler, and 
Champion Helvey, who settled Y. Gr, Kemper's place. On Indian 
Creek, where Claus Stilges now lives, John Shipton, at a very 
early day, had a mill, quite noted in its time. Tho plat of a town 
at that place may still be found in the Clerk's Office ; but tho 
town, like many other hopeful schemes, came to nothing. 

The first house in Cole Camp town was built by Hosea Powers. 
Previous to 1839, in what year I have not determined, he was 
moving west, without any plan as to where he should locate. 
Walking ahead of his teams, he came to the spot where Cole Camp 
now stands, and being pleased with the location, he at once 
determined to settle on it. He stopped his wagons, and, being a 
surveyor, marked out his claim. He had been educated as a lawyer. 
In 1844 he was elected to the State Senate, to fill a vacancy occa- 
sioned by the death of Benj. P. Majors, defeating Benj. F. Robin- 
son, of Versailles. 

In 184G, V. G. Kemper, under the advice and aid of James 
Atkisson, set up a small store near Powers' house. Soon after 
Septimus Martin opened another store. He was followed by the 
Blakey Brothers in a short time. A post-office had been located 
at an early day at Ezokiel Williams', and called Cole Camp, from 
the creek near by. When tho stores were opened at Powers', tho 
post-office was moved there, its original name being continued, and 
giving name to tho town. I have heard different reports as to how 
the creek came by its name. Some say that sonje travelers, or 
hunters, camped on the old road at the crossing of the creek, on 
a very cold night, and from this circumstance the creek took its 
name. But from the best information I have, and the probability 
of the case, I am of the opinion that the creek gets its name from 
the circumstance of tho Coles, of Cooper County, having camped 
for some time on the creek for hunting, exploring, or wintering 
their stock on the bottom grass. A numerous family of tho Coles 
were among the earliest settlers of Cooper County. From Capt. 
Stephen Cole, one of this family. Cole County, and Cole Township 
in Benton County, were named. 

On Lake Creek, the first settlers were James Q. Carrico, Joseph 
Lebow, Allen Morgan and C. C. James. They wero probably as 


early settlors as tlioro wore in tho County. Other early settlers on 
that creek were John and Goscho Boschon, Henry Holtzen, John 
Eifert, John Goetz, N. D. Jack and Jacob Timpkin. 

On Ilaw Creek tho first settlements wore made near Boschen'a 
store, by liichard Williams, Solomon Crabtree, Joseph Thouvenel, 
James Allard, Samuel McCulloh, John Brown and Jaraos D. Murry. 
Tho land owned by these men soon fell in the hands of James 
Godwin and the Harrisons, who long kept noted houses of enter- 
tainment on the road. They are now chiefly owned by Herman 
Boschon and John H. Mahnkin, Thess. Meyers' widow and F. 

The first settlements on Barker's Creek were made by Dick 
Bai'ker and Wm. Collins, near its mouth in Henry County, tho 
crook taking its name from tho former. They probably came 
about 1832 or 1833. In 1833 or 1834, Major Garth settled the 
old Handy farm, and Samuel Woodson adjoining it on tho Harri- 
son Ellis farm. 

On the head of Brush Creek, Jeremiah Bess, on the old James 
Q. Priestly jilaco; a little higher up the creek. Carter, his brother- 
in-law, and one or two others, whose names I have been unable to 
obtain, were the first settlors. In 1835 or 1836, a colony from 
Bourbon County, Ky., came into this neighborhood and bought 
out most of the first settlers, paying what now seems extravagant 
prices for claims. Some paid as high as $GUO, and even $1,200. 
In this colony were Ivoland McDaniel and his sons, Enos, George, 
Benjamin and William. The father bought of Samuel Woodson, 
and settled on tho Harrison Ellis place, west of Fort Lyon. Enos 
settled at the old orchard, near Oliver Little's, George at the old 
clearing in the woods west of Joshua Lloyd's, Bon on tho Keller 
place, and William whore ho now lives. In the same colony wore 
Henry Y. Elbert and his sons, Eoland, Henry and John. Henry 
Y., who was County Judge in 1842, bought of Major Garth tho 
Handy place, and his sons as they grew up settled in tho same 
neighborhood. In connection with this colony came also Thomas 
C. Warren, Avho settled on tho Brame farm, Jno. Cleaveland, 
who settled on tho League place, Wm. Peak, who settled the Jno. 
F. Garland farm, buying it from Mr. Pottus, Koland Cleaveland, 
who settled on Brush Creek, west of Pony Miller's, and Kobert 
Leach, who settled on tho branch below Perry Wetzel's present 
farm. Most of these persons came together, and the track made 


across the prairie by their train is said to have remained visible 
for five years. It is noticeable that nearly all of this colony, hav- 
ing the whole of this beautiful neighborhood to choose from, 
selected at first homes on the broken, poor soils, close to the 
creeks. Among the first settlers on Brush Creek were also Chas- 
tain Cock, on the Wm. B. (Pony) Miller' place, and Zach. Fewel 
on the place where his widow now lives. 

Among the first on Clear Creek were Jacob Chastain, Eichard 
Glover, Levi M. Eizley, William Simpson, Samuel Eippin, Wash- 
ington Dorrell, who was on the Harden Osborn place, and Sahiuel 
B. May, on the Amon English place. 

Nearly all the settlers so far mentioned, and, in fact, nearly all 
those who came prior to 1840, located along the creeks in the tim- 
ber. The immigrants were generally from Virginia, Kentucky 
and Tennessee, and knew nothing of prairie farming. They were 
generally poor, and the timber offered more immediate facilities 
for building and living than the prairie. Perhaps, too, the animal 
life of the woods, the murmuring of the streams, and the rustling 
of the forests, were company for the lonely pioneers. The cabins 
were at first generally built in the bottoms near springs, and little 
clearings opened as soon as possible to raise bread. Meat was 
obtained chiefly by the chase. The overflows, especially those of 
1837, 1844 and 1845, flooded and washed away many of the cabins, 
and caused the houses to be moved to higher ground. There is 
hardly an old farm where the remains of an old chimney may not 
be found, the house having been washed away, or removed to 
higher ground from fear of the flood. I think many farms were 
entirely abandoned on account of the overflows. About 1840 the 
settlors began to locate in the prairies, always, however, having 
their farms near the timber. The opinion generally prevailed that 
the wide prairies were not productive ; land that would not pro- 
duce trees would not produce crops. Tom Benton had declared 
that sixty miles west of St. Louis the country was a desert. The 
government surveyors had pronounced the rich prairies of the 
western Counties unfit for cultivation. So it was only by degrees 
that the farmers ventured out on the prairies. 

Among the first settlers on the prairies were George W. Eives, 
Stephen II. Douglass, E. S. Cates, Hiram P. Casey and Stephen 
H. Davis, on JN^orth Prairie ; Samuel Orr, James and Wiley Vinson, 
near Lincoln ; James II. Lay, C. L. Perry, Lindsay Bowman and 


Johnson Shobe on Little Tebo ; Alexander Davidson, Markham 
Fistoo and Samuel Parks on Clear Creek. I believe that no farms 
were opened an}' distance from the timber till 1855 or 1856, when 
the excitement in land speculation began to spring up, and not 
until about 1868-9 did the advancing settlements from the waters 
of the Osage meet those from Flatt Creek, on the high prairie 
dividing the waters of the Missouri and the Osage. 

The manners of living and habits of the early settlers were so 
much like those of all the western pioneers, and so well known, as 
to require no more than a passing notice. The pioneers Avere gen- 
erally poor men, Avho came west to get cheap land and better their 
fortunes. As illustrating their condition, and way of living, I 
quote the followingfrom a letter written me by the son of one of 
the old settlers, whose father died some years ago, leaving a good 

" We traveled in truck wagons, with wheels made from logs, and 
drawn by oxen. Our plows were bull tongues, fastened to forks 
cut from young trees, and a kind of diamond with wooden mold 
board. Our grain was tramped out with horses on the ground and 
winnowed. Our houses were log cabins, daubed with mud, with 
stick and mud chimneys, and clap-board doors. No schools, no 
ciuirches, no courts, no voting. Both women and men wore 
home-made clothing, with not much cotton in it. The nearest 
mill was 27 miles, to which we went on horseback. Game was 
plenty. My father has killed three dee before sunrise. There 
were deer, elks, bears, panthers, wildcats, catamounts, wolves, 
turkeys and Indians. I have seen seven elks together within gun 
shot of the door. I have seen wolves run the chickens into the 
yard in the day time, and snap at them as they ran through the 
fence. Green head flies would kill a horse in an hour on the prai- 
ries. When I was seven or eight years old, I had no breeches or 
shoes, and the snow was on the ground sometimes when I went to 
my traps. I would get three clap-boards,''warra them well before 
the lire, run one-third the way, drop one and stand on it until ni}^ 
feet got warm, then run another third of the distance and warm 
my feet on another board, and use the last at the traps. F would 
make the same stops going back, picking up my boards. My 
father borrowed a wagon to move here from Cooper County. It 
hud no bed, and he put on a large wheat gum, and put mother 
and the children in it. My father's circumstances were about as 
good as anybody's at that time." 


The families of John Holloway, Milton Kincaid, and I presume 
many others, gathered the tall nettles in the rich bottoms, and 
rotted and worked them like flax, and made clothes of the lint. 
•The. wardrobe of the little fellows was considered complete, in the 
summer, when they got a long shirt of this nettle cloth. After 
the shoes which the settlers brought with them were worn out, 
moccasins were used to a considerable extent. What few articles 
they bought at Boonville or Hogle's trading post, were paid for in 
peltry and game. These particulars, of course, apply only to the 
first settlers. 

Bledsoe's Ferry, from the first settlement of the County, 
became a prominent point. All the travel from the Upper Missis- 
sippi and Missouri Elvers passed this point, and droves of stock 
were driven along this i-oute at an early day. This travel caused 
Mark Fristoe to start a rival ferry about a mile and a half below 
Bledsoe's, where Powers' Ferry now runs, at Warsaw. He opened 
a road diverging from the old road, and running across the ridge, 
just above Warsaw, which was the nearest road to the site of 
Warsaw until 1838. 

As soon as the settlement became considerable, the organiza- 
tion of a new County, with the County Seat near these ferries, 
was contemplated, and small business houses were started under 
Bledsoe's auspices at Mr. Dice's, and under Fristoe's at his house, 
about a mile north of Warsaw. These villages became the 
rendezvous for all the surrounding country until Warsaw was 
located, and were remarkable more for hard drinking and fighting 
than for business. 

While the early settlers were generally steady, hard-working 
men, my conversations with old settlers lead me to believe that 
there was also a large sprinkling of rough characters, who had 
fled from difficulties in the Bast, as our friends who get into 
trouble now, fly to Texas. At any rate the state of society was 
very rough for a number of years after the country was settled. 
As stated elsewhere, the groceries exceeded in number all other 
business houses, and a crowd seldom met at one of them without 
getting into a row. It was a common thing for parties who had 
a misunderstanding, to meet at a public place and fight it out with 
their fists, in the presence of their friends, who could seldom 
deny themselves the luxury of participating. One of the first 
experiences of Mr. E. W. Ramsey, early in 1836, was to sit on a 


box at Ringo and Jopling's store, at Fristoe's town, and witness a 
general row growing out of a fight that had been arranged 
between Newson and Johnson. When Mr. James J. Donald 
first came from Boonville, in 1839, to make a bid for building the 
Court House, he was so discouraged by the rough manners and 
violent demonstrations in Warsaw, that he mounted his horse and 
went back post haste. It would be impossible even to allude to 
all the famous fights that took place in Warsaw on court and 
election days, in those early times. But the advantages of the 
town, as a business point, caused it to grow, notwithstanding the 
turbulent state of society. It is notable that the heaviest busi- 
ness men of Warsaw came here in the midst of the " Slicker 

In the fall of 1834 the population became so considerable as to 
require a new county. I can only approximate the number of 
people at that time. The first census, taken in 1836, showed 1,572 
people. This was nearly two years after the County was organ- 
ized, and the County was about half as large again as it is now, 
Deducting the people of the territory since detached, and the 
immigration of 1835 and 1836, I think we might estimate the 
population in the present limits of Benton County, when it was 
organized, Jan. 3, 1835, at between 400 and 600 people, including 
slaves. Mr. John Graham, Sr., took the census of 1836, and was 
paid $32.00 for his services. 



At the time the State was admitted into the Union, in 1820, 
the Grovernment surveys extended into only one township in 
this County, viz : Tp. 43, R. 20, in the northeast corner of the 
County. The surveys were pushed out from the Mississippi and 
iSlissouri Rivers as the settlement of the country required. 

I have not been able to ascertain when the township and 
range lines were run. Tp. 43, R. 20, was sectionized in 1822, 
and Tps. 40, 41 and 42, R. 20, in 1823. The lands in these town- 
ships were then in the Franklin — Howard, County Districts, the 
office being removed to Fayette in 1822. They were probably in 
market soon after they were sectionized, but the first entry was 
not made till February 26, 1836. It was made by Richard 
Williams of a part of the land now owned by John H. Mahnkin, 
near Boschen's store. S. L. Bowles entered a tract near Buffalo 
Mills, March 24, 1836. On the 27th of March, 1836, Joseph Thou- 
venel entered a part of the land belonging to the Boschen store 
tract. The fourth entry was made in April, 1836, by James 
Q. Carrico, of land close to Judge Peter E. Holtzen's store. In 
the summer of 1836, John M. Williams, Jno. H. Howard and 
Isaac Nicholson entered land on the Osage, in Tp. 40, R. 20. These 
were the only lands in the market up to 1838. Range 20 seems 
to have been the western limit, and Township 40 the southern 
limit of the surveys for several years. In the latter part of 1837, 
a party under G-eorge Lewis, Deputy U. S. Surveyor, began 
sectionizing the lands west of Range 20, and north of Township 
39. The survey was completed in June, 1838. Of the partj-, 
Howell Lewis, now of Lewis Station, in Henry County, was 
forward chainman, John S. Lingle, rear chainman, Iradel Davis, 
brother of Joseph Davis, formerly of Clinton, was marker, Mr. 
Bush was flagman, and another Mr. Bush was cook and camp 
keeper. Soon after this survey was completed, to wit : on the 
19th of Nov., 1838, Tp. 43, Rs. 21, 22 and 23 were offered for sale, 


and a few entries were made in the extreme northwest part of 
the county; and on Oct. 21, 1839, Tps. 42 and 41, Kanges 21, 22 
and 23, came into market. All these lands were in the Fayette 
District. The remainder, to wit: Tp. 40, Rs. 21, 22 and 23, must 
have been offered for sale at the Springfield oflSce, in .Tuly, 1839, 
for I find the first entries made in that month. I presume, how- 
over, that entries made in July, August, September and October 
1839, were pre-emptions proved up. I think the first public sales 
were made at Springfield about Nov. 15, 1839. During this month 
a large number of farms along the Osage were entered. The 
lands south of Tp. 40 seem never to have come into market till 
1846, and possibly were not sectionized till about that time. I 
find that such old settlers as James M. Wisdom, George Alexan- 
der, N. Campbell, John H. Howard, and others on Pommo de 
Terre, did not enter their farms till 1846. 

The lands north of Tp. 40 were in the Fayette District up to 
1843. The Springfield office was established 26th of June, 18.34, 
and the lands south of Tp. 41 were in that district till 1843. In 
1843 the Clinton office was established, and all land in Benton, 
west of Kange 20, became subject to entry at that place. From 
the fact that none of the lands in Tps. 38 and 39 were entered till 
1846, three years after the Clinton office was established, I infer 
that they were not sectionized till about that time. 

The Clinton office was removed to Warsaw in 1854. It was 
burned here in 1861, and the Warsaw district was consolidated 
with the Boonville district. While the office was at Warsaw, 
Mark L. Means was register, and N. B. Holden and A. C. Marvin 
receivers. But few entries were made prior to 1839. Each settler 
was allowed a pre-emption claim of 160 acres by law. But, 
the County being unsurveyed before 1838, the limits of claims were 
indefinite, and it was a frequent thing for settlers to lay claim to 
large bodies of land, by staking them off and building pens of 
poles on them. Their claims were generally respected, and con- 
siderable money was made by Dr. James A. Clark and others, by 
selling them before they were entered. The conflict of claims 
seems to have been, however, a fruitful source of difficulty among 

When the lands were first offered for sale, considerable tracts 
were entered on speculation. Wm. Hickman, Wm. Hurley, David 
Kunkle, Isaac Aylesworth, James M. Blakey, Zach Fewel, and 


Jno. A. Talbot, among others, entered large tracts. Some of these 
lands have not yet passed into the hands of actual settlers, and 
Mr. Harley and the heirs of Mr. Hickman still own some of their 
original entries. The date of 1839^0 marks the period of the 
first fever of land speculation. The next was in 1856-7-8, when 
the excitement became so high that almost all the vacant land was 
taken up. Many thousand acres were entered by non-residents, 
who never saw their lands. Thousands of acres of rocky hills, 
that will always remain worthless, unless valuable ores are 
discovered on them, were entered by Eastern men, through local 
agents. They are generally held yet by the patentees, or used for 
trading among Eastern men, who never saw them. 

At this time was also entered, chiefly on speculation, the 
greater part of the large prairies at a distance from the timber. 
Most of these entries proved good investments. 

The period of 1867-8-9 might be marked as a third era of land 
excitement. When order became thoroughly restored, after the 
war, a very large immigration came in from the Northern States, 
and created an active demand for land, during the years named. 
Many farms were sold at good prices, and a great deal of the 
prairie held by speculators passed into the hands of settlers, at 
profitable figures. The cessation of immigration, and the collapse 
of prices, since 1869, are too recent and painfully familiar, to need 



This County belonged to France up to 1763, when it was trans- 
ferred to Spain. It was restored to France in 1801, and sold to 
the United States in 1803. On the 23d of January, 1816, while 
Missouri was still a territory, Howard County was organized, and 
all of Benton County north of the Osage River was included in it. 
December 17th, 1818, Cooper County was organized, taking all of 
Benton that had been in Howard. November 25th, 1820, Saline 
County was organized, taking all of Benton north of the Osage 
River, except a strip six miles wide on the east side, which was 
left in Cooper. This strip was placed in Morgan January 5th, 
1833, and in Pettis January 26th, 1833. 

January 26th, 1833, Pettis County was organized, taking all of 
Benton north of the river. 

Benton County, south of the river, I think was attached to 
Washington County till January 10th, 1831, when, I think, it was 
attached to Crawford County, till January 2d, 1833, when it became 
a part of Greene, I think, though the only evidence of this I can 
find is, that the citizens of Benton, by the act organizing Benton, 
were required to pay taxes then due to the Counties of Pettis and 

Benton was organized January 3d, 1835. Its original bounda- 
ries took in all the present Benton, twenty-four square miles on 
the northwest corner, now in Pettis, and all of Hickory, north of 
Township 36, which included the territory now in Montgomery, 
Center and Stark Townships, in Hickory County, and the site of 
Quincy, then called Judy's Gap, Hermitage, Black Oak and Garden 

February 17th, 1835, all of what is now Camden, south of the 
river and west of Big Niangua, was attached to Benton for civil 
and military purposes, and called Niangua Township This was 
cut off from Benton January 29th, 1841, when Kinderhook County, 
now called Camden, was organized. 


February 14th, 1845, Hickory County was organized, getting 
about three-fourths of its territory from Benton. Its first courts 
were held at the house of Joel B. Holbert, who was, at the time 
Hickory County was organized, Judge of the Benton County 
Court. ^ 

February 26th, 1845, twenty-four square miles were cut off to 
Pettis in the northwest corner of the County, between Ionia City 
and Windsor. Since this time the boundaries of the County have 
nob been changed. 

The almost continued effort, for the last twenty years, of our 
Windsor friends to cut off the northwest part of the County into 
a new County, is still fresh in the memory of all. 




At the first term of the County Court, in February, 1835, the 
County was divided into four Townships. 

Williams township was laid off with about its present bounda- 
ries, and jnamed after Ezckiel Williams, an old resident therein* 
Levi Odineal was the first Justice of the Peace and Thomas Moon 
the first constable. The first election was held at the house of 
Ezekiel Williams ; and Ezekiel Williams, Sympkins Harryman and 
Thomas Moon were the first Judges of Election. Several succeed- 
ing elections were held at Williams' house. Afterwards they were 
held at Albert Nichols' house, and finally at Cole Camp, after that 
town was settled. Jacob Carpenter was the first Road Overseer. 


All the County south of Williams, and east of the range line, 
between Ranges 21 and 22, was organized into one Township, and 
called Cole, after Capt. Stephen Cole, one of the first settlers of 
Cooper County. This Township then comprised all of what is 
now Cole, all of Union, the east side of Pristoe, and the north-east 
corner of Hickory County. 

John K. Howard and Jesse F. Royston were the first Justices 
of the Peace, and Logan Kays the first Constable. The first 
election was held at John H. Howard's house. The elections were 
afterwards held at the same place when Mr. Terry lived there, and 
later at the houses of Wm. Kays and Henry A. Dawson. Wm. 
Kays, Joseph Walton, and Jesse F. Royston were the first Judges 
of Election. Billington Johnson was the first Road Overseer. 


Comprised all the County west of Cole and Williams, north of 
the Osage and Grand Rivers, and ran to the north line of the 


County, including all of what is now White. It was named for 
Judge John W. Lindsay, then on the County Court bench. 

Adamson Cornwall, Stephen A. Howser and Zachariah Fewell 
were the first Justices of the Peace, and Hugh C. Donaghe first 
Constable. The first election was held at the house of John 
Isbell, near the spring on the south side of John Failer's Farm. 
John Graham, Mannen Duren and Zachariah Fewell were judges* 
The elections were afterwards hold at Ringo & Jopling's store, and 
at the house of Markham Fristoe, a mile north of Warsaw. Andy 
Bryant and Eobert Pogue were the first Eoad Overseers. 


Named for Judge Joseph C. Montgomery, who was then on the 
County Court bench, comprised all of what is Tom and Alexander 
Townships, the west side of Fristoe, and the north-west corner of 
Hickory County, running out beyond Quincy. The part in 
Hickory was cut off from Benton County Feb. 14, 1845. 

John Rippetoe was the first Justice, and James Morton, after- 
wards noted for being kidnapped by the Turks, was the first 
constable. The elections were held at the house of George Alex- 
ander until Alexander Township was cut off, when they were held 
at the houses of Judge Montgomeiy, Turk and Cruce. George 
Alexander, Thomas F. Wright and Samuel Judy were the first 
Judges of Election. John Roberts and Nathan Breshears were 
the first Road Overseers. 


That part of what is now Camden County, which is south of 
the Osage, and west of Big Niangua, attached to Benton County 
for civil and military purposes, was organized by the County 
Court in May, 1835, into a Township called Niangua. It was cut 
off from Benton County Jan. 29, 1841. 

The first election was held at the house of William Broad- 
water, and afterwards there and at the house of Pollard Wisdom. 
Henry Bollinger, Pollard Wisdom and Washington Young were 
the first Judges of Election, and James Jones and John Stark the 
first Road Overseers. 


Was organized Feb. 13, 1838, and called after Judge George 


Alexander, then on the County Court bench. It comprised, at 
first, all of what is now Tom, Alexander and the west side of 
Fristoe. It was organized from Montgomery Township, and loft 
in that Township only what is now the north-west corner of 
Hickory County. The first election was held at the house of 
Mrs. Crabtreo, and afterwards they were held at the houses of 
George Alexander and Nicholas Campbell. 


Was organized November 12, 1838, and called after Judge Wil- 
liam White, then one of the County Judges, and one of the first 
settlers of the County. It comprised about its present boundaries. 

The first, and several succeeding elections, were held at the 
house of George McDaniel, at the old, abandoned place, a short 
distance west of Joshua Lloyd's. Afterwards they were held 
at the houses of Markham Fristoe, Benj. McDaniel and Joseph 
G. Parsons. Henry Y. Elbert, Bnos McDaniel and James Gra- 
ham were the first Judges. 


Was organized out of the south end of Cole, June 2, 1840. It 
originally included the north-east corner of Hickory County, the 
south part of the present Union, and the south-east corner of the 
present Fristoe. Cole still ran south of the river to Township 39. 

The first election was held at the house of Richard Gates, on. 
North Prairie, John MoEwin, George W. Rives and Samuel Wea- 
ver being Judges. The elections were afterwards held at the 
houses of James E. Foster, A. F. Doak and Thomas Miles, until 
Hickory Township and County were cut ofiF. 


Was organized April 2, 1842, from the north end of Alexander, 
and probably called after Tom Bishop, then Clerk, 

The first election was held at the house of John Holloway, 
where C. G. Heath now lives, and the elections have been held 
there ever since, Isaac Lusk, James Browder and John B. Wright 
were the first Judges. • 


Was organieed Sept. 18, 1844, in what is now the north-east 
corner of Hickory County, and was cut off with Hickory County 


Feb. 14, 1845, The only election ever held in this Township was 
held in Nov. 1844, at the house of Jesse Driskell ; Jesse Driskell, 
A. H. Foster and Thomas Miles being Judges. 


Was organized June 18, 1845, and called in honor of Judge 
Markham Fristoe, then on the County Court bench. 

The first election was held at the house of Joseph Hooper, 
where, I believe, they have always been held since. Joel Shep- 
herd, James Walthall and Edward P. Bell were the first Judges. 

I cannot ascertain, positively, that there were any Justices of 
the Peace or Constables in the County while it was under the 
jurisdiction of Pettis, Saline and Greene Couties. I think it quite 
probable that G-eorge H. Hughes, who was a justice at a very 
early day, while living on Judge Ham's place, was appointed 
while in Pettis County. 

It is said by the old settlers that the people of this vicinity 
had some little business in the Courts of Pettis County, then held 
at a place on Muddy, called Pin Hook. I can hear of only one 
election in the County before it was organized. This was held at 
the house of Wm. Kelly, on the old Mannen Duren place, perhaps 
in 1834, and, I am informed by Mr. George Blanton, was attended 
with a fight, in which the voters generally participated. 



By the act organizing the County, Jan. 3, 1835, John Fisher, 
of Pettis, Thomas Kimsey, of Rives, and James McCutcheon, of 
Morgan, were appointed Commissioners to locate a County Seat. 
They were directed to meet at the house of William White, on 
Little Tebo, on the first Monday of April, 1835. For some reason, 
which I have been unable to discover, they did not do anything. 

January 9, 1837, by another act of the Legislature, Bethel Allen, 
of Pettis, Henry Avery, of Rives, and Richard D. Bradley, of John- 
son, were appointed to locate a County Seat, and directed to meet 
at the house of Markham Fristoo, near the Osage, on the second 
Monday of March, 1837. Both sets of Commissioners were di- 
rected to locate the County Seat as near the centre of the County, 
and the Osage River, as a suitable site could be found. 

When the Commissioners came to make the location, an 
animated struggle took place between the friends of Old Town, 
or Fristoe Town, which was a village on the NB i SE i Sec. 8, 
Tp. 40, R. 22, where the first house north of Warsaw, on the Se- 
dalia road, now stands, and New Town, Log Town, Bristoe's 
Town, or Osage, which was on the NW } Sec. 8, Tp. 40, R. 22, 
where Mr. A. H. Dice's house now stands. At each of these 
places a little town had been started, and at each a small store 
or two, a grocery, and perhaps other small shops, were in opera- 
tion. Markham Fristoe led the fight for Fristoe Town, and Lewis 
Bledsoe for Osage. The Commissioners rejected both, and selected 
the present site of Warsaw, where there was then no building, 
save Stephen A. Howser's house, near where Gillett's Mill now 
stands. There was no road even, except a path leading down 
the branch where the Sedalia road now runs. The road then 
crossed at Bledsoe's Ferry, on the farm now owned by Dr. Craw- 
ford, and Fristoe's branch road ran across the ridge above town. 

After Warsaw was located, Fristoe and Bledsoe united, and got 
up a sufficient petition to have the town located between them, on 


the ridge, about one-fourth mile south of Mr. Dice's house. But 
through the efforts of Thomas J. Bishop, and others, a sufficient 
number withdrew their names from the petition to leave less than 
the necessary three-fifths of the tax-payers. Mr. C. P. Bullocks 
for Mr. Bledsoe, claimed that they had no right to withdraw their 
names, and sued in the Circuit Court for a mandamus to compel 
the County Court to change the location. Judge Wright decided 
that the petitioners had the right to take their names off before 
the petition was filed, and refused the mandamus. The case was 
decided at Judge Wright's first term, and occasioned much inter- 
est, John Wilson and James Winston, then of Boonville, and 
Judge Yancey, Hendricks and Waddle, of Springfield, taking part 
in it, as lawyers. Wm. L. Vaughn, soon afterwards, attempted to 
have the County seat moved to his farm one mile east of town, 
where he had a store and a projected town, called Argus, but 

On the location of the County seat, James Ramsey was ap- 
pointed Commissioner. By order of the Court he had the site 
surveyed by Geo. Lewis, Deputy U. S. Surveyor, to ascertain the 
numbers of the land, and had a portion of it laid off into lots by 
Eobert Wyatt, Surveyor. A map of the survey was received by 
the Court, Nov. 14, 1837, and on the 1st of Jan., 1838, the town 
was named Warsaw, and the Commissioner ordered to sell a por- 
tion of the lots on the 15th of Feb., 1838. On this day the first 
sale of lots took place. D. C. Ballou and S. A. Howser were 
allowed $18.00 each for going to Springfield to prove up the pre- 
emption of the County to the quarter section of land on which 
the town was located. 

In March, 1838, the building of a temporary Court House and 
Jail was ordered, and Adamson Cornwall was appointed Superin- 
tendent of Public Buildings. The Court House was let to Glover 
& Davis, and the Jail to Lewis Bledsoe. The Court House was a 
log house, built on the lot where the bank now stands, and was 
used until the present Court House was finished, in 1842. It was 
let at $300, but deductions made for poor work. The Jail was 
built where it now stands, by Lewis Bledsoe. It was rebuilt, 
partly out of original material, in 1852, by Thomas Rank, Mark 
L. Means being Superintendent of the work. In Nov., 1838, and 
April, 1839, orders were made for the building of a permanent 
Court House, not to cost over $2,500, and the contract was let to 


Bolla M. Griffith. After doing some work on the foundation, he 
threw up his contract. Thos. J. Bishop was appointed Superin- 
tendent of Public Buildings, the plan was changed, a better 
building ordered, and the contract let, in 1840, to James J. Donald 
and Joel S. Shepherd, brick work, and B, W. Keown and Wm. 
Hurt, wood work. The house was in a condition to be used in 

1842, but not completed. Indeed the upper story was never 
finished inside till the Masons leased it, about 1868. The original 
cost of the Court House, as near as I can ascertain, was about 
$4,500. The town of Warsaw was incorporated, by order of the 
County Court, July 6, 1840, and D. C. Ballou, S. H. Whipple, S. 
A. Howser and J. M. Staley, appointed first Trustees. Feb. 23, 

1843, the town was incorporated as a city, by an act of the Legis- 
lature, and the city government conducted under the charter till 
the war. The city organization was revived, after the war, but 
was sufi'ered to lapse, and the town was again organized under the 
general law, by the County Court. 

Before Warsaw was located, high hopes of a prosperous town 
in this locality were entertained. In Wetmore's Gazetteer, pre- 
pared in 1836, I find the following account of Osage, the town at 
Dice's : " The present proprietors of the town of Osage, consist- 
ing of men of large families, are about to take up their abode in 
the town, and establish there a seminary of learning, conducted 
by one of the best scholars (a graduate of an eastern college) that 
can be procured. Female teachers from Massachusetts will be 
likewise employed at the Osage Seminary. The proprietors are 
engaged in the erection of a hotel at the ferry, and a steam saw 
mill and flour mill will be erected next summer, on their own 
account. They will also build warehouses for the commission and 
forwai:ding business, on the river bank. With all the natural ad- 
vantages of Osage, it is just to conclude that the population of 
this place will reach several thousand in five years, and even be 
second to St. Louis only, when compared with the other towns of 
the State. The country around the town of Osage is full of lead 
mineral, and the operations of experienced miners will shortly 
open rich and inexhaustible leads of this valuable ore." 

Even after Warsaw was located, it was thought that the Osage 
was navigable only for keel boats, but very soon steamboats be- 
gan to ply the river, and supply a very large section of country 
with goods, and the business of the town soon became very con- 


siderable. Extravagant hopes of its future were indulged. Ad- 
ditions were laid ofl which have never yet had the brush cut off 
them, and the town was chartered as a city. 

The first store was built by Adamson Cornwall, on the corner 
diagonally opposite Hastain's corner, where Bibb & Walls had 
their saddlery store for a long time. In the back room of their 
store the Clerk's office was kept for some time, and a large part of 
the records were destroyed here early in 1839, when the store was 

Mr. Cornwall had previously had a trading post in the old 
Bender field, at the mouth of Grand Eivcr, being attracted there, 
probably, by the Indian village on the other side of the Osage. 
His daughter, now wife of Albert Kincaid, was the first child born 
in Warsaw. The first firm which built up an important business 
was that of White & Ayres. They came here in 1841, with a 
small stock of goods, advanced by Wm. H. Trigg, of Boonville, 
and so active and profitable was their business that, in a short 
time, they owned a large brick storehouse, the first built in the 
town, and a large stock of goods. About 1846, having accumula- 
ted a large property, Mr. White engaged in the Santa Fe trade, 
and took a stock of goods across the plains, with his family. On 
the route his train was attacked by the Indians, and he was killed 
and his wife and little girl captured. * The Indians were so 
closely pursued that they killed Mrs. White, and her body was 
found, still warm. The little girl was never recovered, although a 
large reward was offered for her. In 1843 James Atkinson came 
here, from Calhoun, and opened a store, and continued in business 
till 1861. He soon became a leading merchant, and one of the 
most public-spirited and prominent men in south-west Missouri. 
His mercantile operations were on a scale which would be con- 
sidered large among the business men of Missouri, at this time. 
He was a very popular man, and had a strong hold on the con- 
fidence of the people. He was the leading spirit in the navigation 
and improvement of the river, the establishment of the bank, and 
most other public enterprises. Another prominent firm, which 
did a very large business, was that of E. C. Henry & Co. Mr. 
Henry came here from Howard County in 1843. Bennet & Shep- 
herd came in 1844, and the firm, afterwards changed to A. C. & 
C I. Shepherd, continued to do a prosperous business till 1861. 
J. M. Staley & Son afterwards went into business, and were doing 


a very heavy trade at tho beginning of the war. Dr. James 
Dunn, Jr., was for many years a prosperous druggist and promi- 
nent citizen. Bibb & Walls did the chief saddlery business. Our 
esteemed fellow citizen, J. G. Phillips, in early times, as now, con- 
trolled the furniture business. He is the only one of the very 
early business men who is still in business here. Barkley & Bro. 
at one time did an extensive business. In the prosperous days of 
the town, steamboats were running the river whenever the water 
was sufficient, and, frequently, several would unload at our 
wharves at the same time. Immense cargoes of salt, whisky, 
iron, &c., were unloaded here, and S. W. Missouri and N. W. 
Arkansas were chiefly supplied from this point. The glory of the 
town departed on the advent of the war, and the railroads. Its 
principal business houses were burnt by stragglers, on the with- 
drawal of Fremont's army from the Southwest in the fall of 1861. 



On the 16th of February, 1835, the first session of the County 
Court was held, at the house of Markham Fristoe, which then 
stood in the bottom, just below the west landing of Powers' Ferry, 
There were present, to use the language of the record, the 
" worshipful Joseph C. Montgomery and John W. Lindaay, Judges, 
and Markham Fristoe, Sheriff, and Thomas J. Bishop, Clerk." 
These officers, together with Judge William White, who took his 
seat soon after, were appointed by Governor Daniel Dunklin, soon 
after the organization of the County. The first order made was 
to grant a groiser's license to Ezekiel Williams. I observe from 
the records that during the first four or five years after the county 
was organized, about one-half or two-thirds of all the licenses 
issued for business purposes, were for dram shops. There seems 
to have been a little whisky shop in every neighborhood. I 
believe there were then twice as many dram shops in the county 
as there are now. 

Judge Montgomery then lived in what is now Hickory County, 
on the farm now occupied by Mr. Samuel Walker. He was 
elected representative in 1838, and was foreman of the Grand 
Jury at one term, during the " Slicker war." He was the father 
of the Montgomery who was killed at Warsaw by Hoagland some 
years ago. 

Judge Lindsay lived in the bottom near Mr. James C. Orr's, on 
Sterrett's Creek. He afterward moved to the present farm of 
Wm. M. Wickliffe. He died on the bench in 1840. 

Judge White lived first on the Jesse Drake place, and after- 
wards on Little Tebo, on the Bedford farm, near Wm. M. Thomp- 
son's. He died at an early day, on this farm. 

For three years, until the building of the log Court House, the 

Courts were generally held at the house of Markham Fristoe, on 

the north of the river, being the first house now standing out of 

town, on the Sedalia road. But the County Court was once or 



twice held at John Isbell's house, near the spring, on the branch, 
on the south side of John Failer's farm. A short distance south 
of the spring, on the ridgo in front of Mr. A. J. Wisdom's house, 
lived C. H. Allen, commonly known as " Horse " Allen, who was- 
the first Circuit Judge, holding from 1835 to 1837. lie located a 
claim on the bottom, south of Mr. Failer's. It seems he at one 
time lived on the bottom, near James C. Orr's. He also entered 
the tract of land at Mr. Dice's, where the town of Osage stood, 
but his son-in-law, C. P. Bullock, lived on it. His Circuit, (the 
6th), consisted of the Counties of Hives, Pettis, Benton, Polk, 
Greene, Barry and Morgan. He moved here from Palmyra, Mo,, 
when he was appointed Judge. 

Judge Wright was appointed Judge in 1837. The Circuit then 
consisted of Benton, Pulaski, Polk, Greene, Barry and Taney, and 
was the 7th. These Counties then embraced about all of South- 
west Missouri. Judge Wright held his first Court at Mr. Frisloe's 
house, and, there not being room lor all the lawyers at 
Fristoe's, Judge Wright, Winston and John Wilson went out 
to board at John Smith's, who then lived near the grave yard, 
in Mr. John Failer's field. Judge Wright liking the prairie 
bottom out there, Mr. Smith gave him a part of his claim, 
and he soon after settled on his farm, and lived there till 
about 1844, when he moved to Warsaw, The first few years of 
Judge Wright's service was a stormy time in the history of 
our Courts. During this time the cases growing out of the 
Howard and Newson feud and the "Slicker war" were tried^ 
Of the latter, some account will be given hereafter. Of the 
nature of the Howard and Newson feud I can get no very correct 
information. It seems to have existed soon after the organization 
of the County, between John H. Howard and Nathan Newson, 
both of whom lived on the river, below Warsaw, the latter 
keeping a ferry, for some time, at the farm now owned by Vaitch 
Light. Each had his party, and much bad feeling prevailed, 
resulting in many fist fights and law suits, and some bloodshed. 
One trial gave rise to an unusual manner of administering justice 
in this county. Howard had been indicted for unlawfully co-habit- 
ing with a woman who lived in his family, and was acquitted. Jo- 
seph McCarty had sworn against him on the trial, and he had him 
indicted and convicted of perjury. The sentence was, one dollar 
fine, one hour in jail, and one hour in the pillory. There being no 


pillory, Sheriff Cornwall executed the latter part of the sentence 
by tying McCarty to a horse rack with a bridle rein. Among the 
lawyers who practiced in our Court afc an early day, were Jno. S. 
Phelps, Charles S. Yancey, John S. Waddle, and L. Henricks, of 
Springfield, Jno. Wilson, of Boonville, father of the Speaker of the 
House of Representatives, in 1871, and James Winston, famous as 
the author of the remark that " a turkey was a very inconvenient 
bird, being too much for one man and not enough for two." He 
and Hendricks both, afterward, moved to Warsaw, and, in 1844, 
I think, Winston ran for Governor, and Hendricks for Lieutenant 
Governor. Winston canvassed the State, traveling on foot. 
He was a very eccentric man, improvident in money matters, 
careless in his dress, but, withal, a man of unusual genius and 
eloquence. When he went to speak at St. Louis, his friends, 
ashamed of his shabby appearance, dressed him up in a suit of 
fine broadcloth, with swallow tail coat and stove pipe hat. After 
leaving St. Lonis, he continued to foot it over the State in his 
new suit, and kept it on till it was worn out. He was elected 
State Senator in 1850. Among the resident lawyers were C. P. 
Bullock, D. C. Ballou, Benjamin P. Major, George Dixon, K. B. 
Eidgley, Mark L. Means, Thomas Ruflfin and Felix Hunton. Benj. 
P. Major was elected State Senator in 1842. 



About 1830, a man by tho name of Garland came to the lower 
Big Spring, on Niangua, which is two miles above the crossing of 
the Linn Creek and Warsaw road. He greatly pleased the few 
settlers in that region by announcing his intention of putting up 
a fine grist mill. He never put up anything, however, at the 
spring, but a blacksmith shop. With him were Spence, Quillen, 
Cross and Earley, and perhaps others. It soon became known 
that they received occasional visits from companies of four or five 
well dressed and equipped men, who came from the direction 
of St. Louis, with the avowed purpose of starting iron works at 
the spring. No iron works, however, appeared, but the country 
was soon found to be flooded with counterfeit bank bills. Suspi- 
cion settled on Garland and his friends as the makers of them, and 
a party of hunters finally came upon them at their headquarters, 
in a secluded and almost inaccessible ravine near the spring. The 
counterfeiters fled, and the hunters found their counterfeiting 
implements under a shelving rock, and a large quantity of 
unsigned counterfeit bills. It is said their practice was to take the 
bills to St. Louis, and have them signed in a cellar by a Mrs. Skid- 
more, whose husband belonged to the band. The band was 
organized as a bank, with a President, Cashier, Clerks, and a 
Board of Directors. Some of them operated in St. Louis, putting 
the money in circulation there. They had agencies, facetiously 
called branch banks, scattered through the country, who aided 
in putting the bills out in the country. Several men, who wore 
prominent in this county, at that time, were supposed to be 
•' branches " of the bank. The operations of the Bank were large, 
and the bills so well executed that they passed readvly with indif- 
ferent judges of money. A small store of Wyan & Trigg's, at 
Warsaw, which was conducted by their agent, is said to have 
received one of its $100 bills, and to have been so crippled by the 
loss that it had to close up. 


The band is said, by some, to have been broken up on the 
information of the hunters who discovered them. By others it 
is said that Mr. Skidmore dying, and the bank refusing to con- 
tinue a proper share of the profits to Mrs. Skidmore, she went 
to the United States District Judge, at St. Louis, and exposed it. 
The Judge placed the case in the hands of Gen. Augustus Jones, 
United States Marshal, who succeeded in arresting Garland and 
his chief confederates, and seizing their implements. Some say 
they escaped, others that they were acquitted, because all the bills 
found in their possession were unsigned. 

About the same time, and later, a man named Abee, with some 
confederates, made spurious coin at some point on Niangua, 
between the two Big Springs. Abee's money became famous all 
over this country, and a number of Benton County men were sup- 
posed to have aided in its circulation. One of them paid off an 
execution, in the hands of B. W. Eamsey, Deputy Sheriif, with 
sixty odd dollars, in bright new counterfeit silver coin. Mr. 
Eamsey discovering the money to be false, it was replaced with 
good, without a word. After an overflow, Mr. Josephus Gill dis- 
covered a large quantity of counterfeit gold on the river, below 
Warsaw, under a cabin that had been washed away. One of 
their crucibles was found in a cave, on the Gravois. 

In 1874 a copper plate for printing U. S. Bank notes was 
plowed up in a field near Linn Creek, and Mr. Armstrong, of the 
Linn Creek Rustic took a very legible impression from it on coarse 
printing paper. 



About the year 1839, came to Benton County, Hiram K. Turk, 
and his wife and four sons, James, Thomas J., Nathan and Robert. 
They settled on the road north of Quincy, just south of the old 
Archibald Cock place. ^Quincy was not then known, but that 
vicinity was called Judy's Gap, from Samuel Judy, who settled at 
the gap of prairie connecting Hogle's Creek prairie with the 25 
mile prairie. Turk came from Tennessee where he had been selling 
goods. He is said to have had considerable property at one time, 
but was broken up when he came here. He had been Colonel of 
militia, in Tennessee, and was known here as Col. Turk. It is said 
that he had several buck shot in his body when he came. He and 
his boys at once opened a small store and dram shop, which 
became a kind of rallying point for the neighborhood. From the 
first, Hiram, James, and, in a less degree, Tom, acquired the repu- 
tation of being quarrelsome, violent, and overbearing men. 
Hiram, and, perhaps, James, drank to excess. They were men of 
fine forms, dressed well, for those times, and, in their better 
moods, were men of unusually courteous and dignified manners. 
They possessed more than an average degree of intelligence and 
education. Tom Turk's writing, found among the records, showB 
a trained business hand. 

They had been here but a few months till we find them 
engaged in difficulties. We first have an indistinct account of 
James Turk swearing and threatening, on the arrest of some par- 
ties for theft. On the 18th of February, 1840, he made a violent 
assault on John Graham, a man. of some prominence, at that tmio, 
in the neighborhood of Judy's Gap.. On the next day Mr. 
Graham wrote the following note to the Justice of the Peace : 

February the 19 day— 1840. 
mister wisdom sir please to come fourth with to my house and fetch your law 
books and ^mHs quick as you can a.s I have been Lay waid by /^es turk and 
smarUerwounded sL that I Cant Come to your house ^j-^jj^^A^gj^ Ujat he 
will Escape 


The following is Graham's testimony in regard to the as- 
sault : 

On the 18th of February I went to Jas. Dudley's Blacksmith Shop to get my 
brother's mare shod to ride to Sac River. On my return home I met James 
Turk, and when he got in about fifty or sixty yards of me he got off of his horse, 
led it to the bushes and hitched, and came up into the road rolling up his sleeves. 
When he got in fifteen or twenty steps of me, he named that he had been wanting 
to meet with me some time back. I halted my mare, and told him to stand back, 
and he said, "G — d d — n your soul, 1 don't ask you any odds." I reined my 
mare back, and he still rushed on towards me, with his staff drawn. I still told 
him the second time to " stand back and have some honor in him and not rush on 
a man in that way." By this time he had got within about three steps of me. He 
pitched at me, and, with his left hand, caught my mare by the bridle. He 
threw his hand behind him, and drew out his bowie knife, and aimed at me with 
it; and, as he struck at me, I jumped on the opposite side of the nag. He ran 
around the mare's head, where I was, and made another lick at me, and I broke 
to run. He took after me with his bowie knife, striking at me as I ran, swear- 
ing, " G — d d — n you, I will kill you." The distance we ran, I think, was about 
twenty or thirty yards. I think I fell twice or three times in the distance, and 
he kept striking at me. By that time I had got rather out of the thicket into 
open ground. T drew out a pistol and told him, if he rushed on me any further, 
I would kill him, and cocked it. He halted but very little when he saw the 
pistol presented at his breast, and still moving toward me with his bowie knife 
and club, I bursted a cap at him. I wheeled, then, to run, and he made at me 
with his bowie knife and club, and struck me with his club and knocked 
me down, and,. as I was raising, he struck me across the head with his bowie 
knife. By this time Andy Ripetoe ran up facing Turk, and told him he had to 
stop. Turk observed to Ripetoe that he had nothing against him, but that he 
would kill me. He made a halt when Ripetoe told him to stop, and by that 
time I had got out of the thicket and up to my mare, and on her, and left him 
there, hunting the scabbard of his bowie knife. I lost my pistol when he 
knocked me down the last time, and I was afraid to go back into the thicket to 
hunt it while he was there. I went to Mrs. Ripetoe's and got a gun, and came 
back again to hunt my pistol. He was about one hundred and fifty yards from the 
place where we fought, in the road, going towards Judy's. He saw me coming with 
the gun, struck his iiorse, and broke in a gallop toward Judy's ; then jumped off 
his horse and said, " G — d d — n you, come on ; I will go home and get father, 
and all my brothers, and come to your house this night, and I will have your 
heart's blood at the risk of my life." Then I went into the thicket to look for 
my pistol, and saw it lying in the leaves where he knocked me down, and spoke 
to Ripetoe to pick it up; he did so, and we went back to his mother's, and 
stayed all night. 

A warrant was issued, and W". W. McMillan deputized to 
execute it. With a posse of five men, he went to James 
Turk" and arrested him, but Turk refused to go to Gra- 
ham's house for trial. Graham refused to go into the pres- 
ence of Turk to testify till he was disarmed. Justice Wisdom 
ordered him to be disarmed, and took hold of him to assist, when 
old Hiram pulled him off, and Tom Turk drew his pistol, and made 
the oflScers stand off. The Turks and their friends then took 
James and went home. On McMillan's warrant, I find the return, 
" Levied on the body of Jas. Turk, Fob. 19, 1840," entered and 


erased. A warrant was sworn out against them for rescuing a 
prisoner. Sheriff Smith went out and made the arrest, and they 
were bound over by 'Squire Wisdom, — James, for the assault; 
Tom, for rescuing James; and Hiram for the rescue, and to keep 
the peace toward John Graham, whom he had threatened. During 
the proceeding, Iliriim Turk eliargcd Justice VVindom with prose- 
cuting him through malice, whereupon the Justice fined him $20, 
the collection of which Turk had stayed by writ of prohibition 
from the Circuit Court. Those proceedings aided in planting the 
animosity that took shape in the Slicker war. 

Some years before the Turks came to the County, the Joneses, 
four brothers, Andrew, Samuel, Isaac and John, had settled on 
Big Pomme de Torre, just above the Breshears' prairie. Among 
the early settlers they were prominent as horse racers and gam- 
blers. They were coarse men, whose manners had been formed 
in the rough society of the borders. They are said to have been 
illiterate. I find their names always signed by mark. 

At the August election, in 1840, held at Turk's house, James 
Turk and Andrew Jones became involved in a controversy about a 
bet on a horse race.* Jones proposed to fight it out in the usual stylo 
of those days, with the fists. Turk agreed, but stepping into the 
house, came out with a knife, and attacked Jones, when a general 
row ensued ; Turk's father and brother assisting him, and two of 
the Keaton's, and others, assisting Jones. At the Circuit Court 
sitting a few days later, Tom, James and Robert, were indicted for 
a riot, and Hiram and Jumos for the assault on Andrew Jones. 
John B. Clark was foreman of this Grand Jury, and Hendricks 
Circuit Attorney. At the December term, 1840, the throe boys 
were convicted of the riot, and fined $100. The fine was remitted 
by Gov. Thos. Reynolds. The case against Hiram and James was 
continued to the April term, 1841. A chief witness against the 
Turks was Abraham C. I^owell, a quiet and respectable citizen 
living three miles north-west of Judy Gap. The Turks had sworn 
he should never testify against them. On the morning of April 
3, 1841, the first day of Circuit Court, Nowell, coming to Warsaw, 
in company with Julius Sutlilf, who lived close to the Turks, was 

♦other accounts say that the Turks had just opened a new stock of goods, and, 
making considerable sales on election day, soon discovered that several counterfeit 
bills, of the same denomination, had been passed on them. On Inqtilry, they traced 
thrin all ba<-k to Andy Jones, and the dilllculty is .said to have arisen from the 
Turks chargluii; him with circulating counterfeit money. 


overtaken at the branch this side of Arch. Cock's, and assaulted 

with a pistol, by James Turk. Nowell, in self-defence, got 

Sutliff's gun, and shot Turk dead. A full account of the affair is 

contained in the following evidence : 

Julius Sutliff testified as follows : 

On the first day of the Benton County Circuit Court, in the Spring Term, 
in 1841, I was at a Blacksmith shop belonging to Mr. Glazebrook, in Benton 
County. I found Mr. Nowell, Mr. Addington and others, there. Mr. Glazebrook's 
shop is about 400 yards from the house in which he lived. I started from the 
shop and went to Mr. Cock's, about 400 yards. I stopped at Mr. Cock's until 
Mr. Kowell and Mr. Addington came up, then got on my horse and started on 
with them. I rode on with them till they ail came to a little branch, between 
Mr. Cock's and Mr. Bishop's. I here stopped to drink, and Mr. Nowell stopped 
by the side of me. Mr. Addington's horse stopped a few steps beyond us. While 
I was drinking, Mr. James Turk, and another gentleman, came up and 
passed Nowell and me. I heard Mr. James Turk speak to Mr. Addington, and 
say " Good morning." James Turk passed myself and Nowell about fifteen or 
twenty steps. He turned in his saddle, and said to Mr. Nowell, "Which one 
of your places, or quarters, shall T settle on ?" Mr. Nowell said, " Neither." 

Turk said "I will be d d if I don't." Mr. Nowell said, "Jimmy Turk, you 

can never settle on my place." Turk then replied "d n your old soul, if you 

say much I will settle it on the spot." Nowell said, "no you won't." Turk, 
thereupon, got ofi"his horse, and ran his hand in his pocket, on the left hand side 
of his coat, and drew out a pistol, and advanced on Nowell. Nowell told Turk 
to stop. When Turk got his pistol out, Nowell spoke to me and said "let me 
have your gun." Turk was still advancing. Nowell took the gun from me and 
drew it up to his face, Turk still advancing. Nowell told him to stop, and, if he 
advanced any further, he would shoot him. Turk kept on advancing and Nowell 
shot him. James Turk's general character was that of a fighting man. I was his 
nearest neighbor; never had any diiBculty with him myself. Mr. Nowell has the 
reputation of being a peaceable man ; I never heard of him quarrelling with any 
other man. 

John Prince testified as follows: 

I heard James Turk say that Mr. Nowell was a main witness, and never 

should give in evidence against them, that he intended to take the d d old 

son of a b h off his horse and whip him, so he could not go to court. Turk 

further said that if they took the case to Springfield he would have him (Nowell,) 
fixed so he never would get there ; I think that the case in which Nowell was a 
witness, is the case that Andrew Jones had against James Turk and Hiram K. 
Turk. I think it was about a fight that took place at Hiram K. Turk's on an 
election. I think that the parties to the fight, from what I understood, were 
Jones, James Turk, Hiram K. Turk, and perhaps Bob Turk. This conversation 
1 had with James Turk in the last part of last month, about a week before the 
spring term of the Benton Circuit Court, 1841. 

Nowell being told by his friends that the Turks' would kill 

him, fled the country, bat returned in September, went to the 

Sheriff, was committed to jail and bailed out. He was tried at the 

April term, 1842, and acquitted, Thomas Eank being foreman of 

the Jury Phelps, Ben. P. Major and Eidgley defended him. 

Dixon was Circuit Attorney. On the death of Jas. Turk and the 

flight of Nowell, the cases against Jas. Turk were dismissed, and 



those against Hiram continued, and he was killed before they 
were again called. 

During the spring in which James Turk was killed, Hiram 
and Tom. Turk were engaged in a number of petty lawsuits with 
their neighbors, and I have an imperfect account of Hiram Turk 
going to the house of Arch. Cock after night, in liquor, and break- 
ing into the house with the avowed purpose of killing Cock; Tom. 
followed him and prevented him from doing any harm. 

But the first event after the killing of James Turk which had 

a marked effect in fixing the animosity between the Turks and 

Joneses, was the kidnapping of James Morton. Morton was 

related by marriage to the Joneses. In 1830 he had killed a Sheriff 

in Alabama, who was attempting to arrest him, and fled to this 

County. On the 20tb of May, 1841, one McEeynolds called on 

Sheriff Smith, at Warsaw, with a copy of an indictment found 

against Morton in Alabama, and a copy of a proclamation of the 

Governor of Alabama, offering S-lOO reward for him. The Sheriff 

not deeming the papers suflScient refused to make the arrest. 

McReynolds declared he would get somebody to make the arrest, 

and went on South. He fell in with the Turks, with whom he 

had probably been in communication before, and on the evening of 

the 21st of May, they went with him to take Morton. The 

circumstances of the arrest are given in the following testimony 

of Wm. Paxton, before D. C. Ballou, Justice of the Peace: 

I was better than a mile from mine and Rankin's mill. I was going home on 
foot. Hiram K. Turk overtook me on the road and told me that a couple of 
gentlemen from Alabama had come on with authority to take Morton. He said 
that they were then going to take Morton, as he understood that he was at the 
mill. There was no one immediately along with Turk then. The company was 
at the left of Turk and myself. Hiram Turk and myself and the company, met 
just at the edge of the prairie. The company consisted of Condley, Rice, Thos. 
Turk, McReynolds and Gunter. The company consulted together and it was 
agreed by the company (I do not think that Rice and Condley said anything,) 
that Mr. McReynolds and Turk should go the way I was going, and they went 
with me. The othens took a left hand road and I did not see any of them except 
Rice until they met at the mill. After Turk, McReynolds and myself started 
towards the mill, Turk insisted that I should ride his horse as he was tired of 
riding, which I did, and Turk then went ahead, McReynolds and myself staid 
behind talking together. Just behind the mill in the edge of the woods, James 
Morton Avas gathering up plank. Turk went towards him and appeared to say 
something to him, and I think that Morton answered Turk, though I did not 
hear what was said. Morton stooped down to gather up more plank and Turk 
jumped and caught Morton by the waistband and the back of the neck, and told 
him that ho need not make any resistance tliat lie could not get loose, that he 
was in the hands of a man. Morton said he was not trying to get loose, or, who 
was trying to get loose. Turk let go of his collar and Morton insisted on know- 


ing by what authority they took him. I think Turk told him "we will show 
you." McReynolds got off of his horse and pulled out a pistol. Morton asked 
what that pistol was out for. McReynolds told him that if he attempted (o get 
away or make any resistance it was to shoot him with. Turk spoke to McRey- 
nolds and told him to get the strap. McReynolds got out the strap and Turk held 
Morton and McReynolds tied him. Morton complained that they were tying 
him too tight. Morton was then lead out of the woods to the road. I cannot say 
who lead him. Morton still insisted on knowing b) what authority they took 
him. Turk said it would be there in a few moments. Turk and all made a move 
down the road to n^eet the other company which had not got there yet. Just as 
they got started the other company came in sight. Gunter who was foremost 
got down off of his horse and took a rope and tied around the strap that fastened 
Morton's arms together. Morton asked Condley if he was the oflScer who was 
taking him, and he .said that he had nothing to do with it. They then put 
Morton on a horse and took him back to my house. They all ate supper at my 
house except Morton, who would not eat anything. They all got their horses 
ready, and Turk took off his coat and put it on Morton, and I think Thos. Turk 
put Morton on the horse. He was still bound. When Morton was asked to eat 
he said they would never get him to Alabama and that he never would eat 
another bite in the world. McReynolds said he would show his authority for 
taking Morton to the proper authority and took a paper from his pocket. It had 
some writing on it and something that looked like a State seal. I did not 
examine it. I understood from Turk and McReynolds that they intended to 
take Morton to Alabama. In the first place I think they talked of giving him 
up to Sheriir Smith. The company consulted together before they left my house, 
and the conclusion was that they should take him to Alabama. They talked of 
going by the way of Bolivar, also by Boonville, and Jefferson City and Cape 

The mill at which Morton was taken, was on the Pomme de 
Terre, below Hermitage, at the place where Hickman's mill now 
stands. Morton was taken during the night to Mr. E. T. Condley's 
house, and also to Mr. Judy's. Mr. Condley then had a blacksmith 
shop on the rocky ridge road beyond Mr. N. Campbell's house, 
where the old North Prairie and Judy's "Gap road crossed. On 
the morning of the 22nd they crossed the ferry at Warsaw before 
sunrise and pushed on to the Missouri River. They were closely 
pursued by Morton's friends, including Judge Geo. Alexander, 
whose sister Morton married, but got out of the state. Morton 
was tried and acquitted, and returned in about a year. It is said 
that some connection with the trial of Morton, led to the removal 
of Judge Burr H. Emerson to this county. 

Hiram K. Turk was arrested and bound over for kidnapping, 
by D. C. Ballou, Justice of the Peace. He was indicted and the 
indictment quashed about the time of his death; Finch, Otter and 
Hendricks were his Attorneys. The kidnapping of Morton 
warmed the already bad blood of the Joneses to murderous heat. 
According to the confession of Jabez L. Harrison when he was 
whipped by the Turks, a conspiracy was formed a few days after 


Morton was taken off, to kill Hiram K. and Tom Turk. The Joneses 
of whom Andrew was the leader, engaged the co-operation of their 
friends and the enemies whom the Turks had made, and about the 
first of July 1841, Harrison says they met at the house of Archi- 
bald Cock and entered into an agreement to kill Hiram K. Turk, 
a writing being drawn up by Henry Hodge binding them to kill 
Turk, and to kill any one of the party who should divulge the 
conspiracy. Harrison says that the following parties entered into 
the agreement, viz: Andrew Jones, Nicholas Suden, \Vm. Brook- 
shire, Milton Hume, John Williams, Henry Hodge, Thomas Mead- 
ows, Josiah Keaton, James L. Keaton, John Whittaker, Archibald 
Cock and Jabez L. Harrison. Mr. Cock, Harrison says, agreed to 
give Harrison a horse to join in killing the Turks. Justice to Mr. 
Cock, the Keatons and Mr. Hume, requires the statement here, 
that they were acquitted of this charge by the Courts. But such 
a conspiracy was doubtless formed, for on the 17th of July, 1841, 
Hiram K. Turk was shot from the brush and mortally wounded. 
He had been attending a law suit at Squire Alex. Breshear's, on 
Pomme de Terre, and was returning in the afternoon in company 
with Alex, and Thos. Cox, friends of the Turk's who lived near 
Judy's Gap, Andrew Turk and E. T. Condley. Andrew Turk was 
not related to the Turk's, but coming through the county and 
learning they were ot the same name with himself, he stayed with 
them a while and took a hand in many of their difficulties. The 
company were riding along a road now disused, running from 
North Prairie to Judy's Gap through the Breshears prairie. This 
road passed by the house of Squire Sampson Norton, which is the 
second house south of Pomme de Terre on the Warsaw and Her- 
mitage road. Here many of the examinations were had during the 
"Slicker War." About a quarter of a mile west of Norton's while 
passing up a brushy hollow, Turk and Condley being some distance 
behind the others, a gun was fired from the brush, Turk's horse 
sprang forward and Turk fell off, exclaiming "I am a dead man." 
Mr. Condley while raising him up heard another gun fire, and Jabez 
Harrison afterwards said that he shot at Condley and would have 
killed him had he not stooped. The Cox's and Andy Turk ran 
back in great alarm. Andy Turk started at once to Warsaw for a 
doctor, and returned after dark with Drs. Tabor and Bush. The 
others took Turk back to Norton's, where he remained until a few 


days before his death, when he was taken home. He died August 
10th, 1841. He was shot in the back of the left shoulder, the ball 
lodging under the right shoulder blade. Dr. Tabor attended him 
almost daily till his death, receiving for his services $118. 

Circuit Court was in session at the time of Turks death, and 
Andrew Jones was indicted for the murder, and Milton Hume, 
Henry Hodge, Jabez Harrison and John Whittaker for conspiring 
to kill Hiram K. and Thos. J. Turk. Joseph C. Montgomery was 
foreman of the Grand Jury and Dixon Circuit Attorney. Harrison 
afterwards confessed that himself, Andy Jones, Henry Hodge and 
two others were in the brush when Turk was killed, and that 
Hodge shot him. Andy Jones was tried and acquitted December 
9th, 1841, the evidence being insufficient to convict him. Harrison 
had not yet made his confession. Jones was defended by Hend- 
ricks, Otter and Eidgley. Hume's case hung in Court for more 
than a year, during a large part of which time he was kept in jail, 
The case against him was dismissed December, 1842, Henry 
Hodge, Harrison and Whittaker, who were indicted with him 
having left the country. 

When the Turk's failed to convict Andy Jones they resolved to 
take the law in their own hands, and the Slicker War proper 
began. They determined to compel a confession as to who killed 
Hiram K, Turk, and to drive the Joneses and their chief friends 
from the country. To carry out these objects, Tom. Turk regularly 
organized a company of his friends to the number of about thirty, 
and had them sign an agreement. To justify themselves to the 
public their professed purpose was to drive out horse thieves, 
counterfeiters and murderers. 

While so far as I can learn, none of the Jones party were ever 
convicted of horse stealing, there were several circumstances 
which gave much plausibility to this charge against them. In 
December, 1840. Bird D. Parks of Henry County, had a horse to 
stray from him, and it was taken up at Mr. Hunts, near Cole 
Camp. A few days after, Champlangford Carter who ran with 
the Joneses, claimed the animal and took it to Cole County, 
Samuel Parks and James Y. Parks brothers of Bird D., followed 
him, found the horse in his possession, and had him arrested and 
committed to jail at Warsaw. Andy Jones, Wm. Brookshire and 
John Thomas, constant associates of each other, and of Carter, 


bailed him out. He confessed his gailt by running off. Andy 
Jones and Jabez Harrison made a pretense of going to Arkansas 
to bring him back. Harrison got a horse from Arch. Cock for the 
trip, which he claimed was given him for helping to kill Hiram K. 
Turk. The habits of Jones and some of his clonest friends, also 
gave color to the charge of horse stealing. Tbey did not stay at 
home at regular work, but were much of their time absent, and 
not about any known legitimate business. Soon after Andy Jones 
was acquitted, B. H. Williams and Joseph Sharp lor«t a horse apiece, 
and they were found in the latter part of .January, 1842, on War- 
bleau, under the control of Morgan Trahan another crony of 
Jones. In pursuing the horses they also found where a deer had 
been killed, and a knife supposed to belong to Jones lying by it. 
Jones was known to have spent the night with Trahan, at a bouse 
near where the horses were found. About the time these horses 
were found, Jno. and Moses Owsley came down from Muddy 
Creek, in Johnson County, in search of stolen horses. They rep- 
resented that they had been horse racing with Andy Jones and 
his associate Thomas Meadows on Muddy, and charged Meadows 
with stealing their horses. I may state here, however, that they 
afterwards found their horses in Cass County, where they had 
followed a mare bought from that County. The Owsley's fell in 
with the Turk company, and all these charges fixing a serious 
suspicion on Jones and his friends, the Turk's siezed the opportu- 
nity to make their attack. Their company was rallied on the 2Sth 
of January, 1842. Among the men going with the Turk company or 
approving it, the following names were prominent : Thomas J. 
Turk, Nathan Turk, Robert Turk, Andrew Turk, Isam Hobbs, 
John Hobbs, Jeff. Hobbs, Alex. D. Cox, Thomas Cox, James Cox, 
Thomas Draffin, Nathaniel Hamilton, James Rankin, Alex. Brown, 
Robert Brown, Chas. S. Brent, James Jackson, /Vnslem Jackson, 
Wm. Norton, James Morton, Alston Gregory, Wm. Evans, Wm. Y. 
Evans, John Hobaugh, Joseph C. Montgomery, Ben. Miller, Eph. 
Jamison, and James Mackey. Tom. Turk was leader, and his 
brothers, the Hobbses, Coxes, DraflSn and Gregory, his most active 
followers. Mackey was bugler, and got the name "Sore Mouth 
Mackey" from blistering his lips blowing his horn. 

The prominent men of the Jones party were Andrew Jones 
who was the leading spirit, Samuel Jones, John Jones, Isaac Jones, 


Henry Hodge, Thomas Meadows, William Brookshire, Jabez L. 
Harrison, Loud Eay, Harvey White, Luther White, Nicholas 
Suden, Julius Sutliff, John A. Whitaker, Milton Humes, Berry 
Chapman, Jno. W. Chapman, John Thomas, John Williams, James 
Blakemore, Lee T. Blakemore, Archibald Cock, and Abraham 
Nowell. Several of these men, among others the last four, were 
not charged with being engaged with the Joneses in any dishonest 
operations but were on the Jones side on account of personal hos- 
tility to the Turks. 

When the Turk company rallied on Friday the 28th of January, 
1842, they set out with the avowed purpose of "running all the 

d d rascals out of the country." They went down on Pomme 

de Terre to Andy Jones house about 3 o'clock in the afternoon. 
The Owsleys from Henry County were with the company on this 
expedition. The only men they found at Andy Jones' were John 
Jones and Berry Chapman. Tom Turk asked John Jones how 
many men were there to fight them, and on Jones replying none 
but himself and Chapman, Turk siezed Chapman and they took 
him a short distance from the house, tied him to a tree and took a 
vote as to whether they should whip or shoot him. They decided 
to whip. Turk told Chapman that he and all his friends were 
counterfeiters, horee thieves and highway robbers, and that they 
intended to kill all the Joneses, but if Chapman would tell them 
who killed Hiram K. Turk they would not whip him. Whether 
he confessed is not known, but they released him without whipping 
and ordered him to leave the County by next morning, on penalty 
of death. They left and when night came on they went to the 
house of Thomas Meadows, who was accused of stealing Owsley's 
horses. He lived on Pomme de Terre near Andy Jones. I have 
no detailed account of the visit to his house. They got him out 
of his house, stripped and tied him to a tree, and whipped him 
("slicked" him as they called it,) most unmercifully with hickory 
withes. By the time they finished the blood was running in a 
stream six feet from him. He owned that Andy Jones had stolen 
three horses and three mules, but denied that he stole Owsley's 
horses. As above stated it was afterwards ascertained that he was 
guiltless of this charge. My best information is that he died in a 
short time from the ''slicking," though others say he did not. 
In the latter part of the same night they went to the house of 


William Brookshire and slicked him almost as severely as they 
did Meadows. This seems to have ended their work of Friday 
night. On Saturday evening they started out from Rankins' mill 
and went d&wn to Samuel Jones' house, but not finding him at 
homo they went across the Ponjme de Terre to North Prairie, to 
John Wood's Mill. As they approached the mill they saw two men 
gallop oflf toward the house of Major James Blakemore, then 
County Surveyor, who lived on the farm now occupied by Capt. 
Ben. Reeder. They followed, and after considerable searching 
found Isaac Jones under the kitchen bed, in Blakemore's house. 
They took him over to Rankins' mill, abused him, and threatened 
him, but finally turned him loose about seven o'clock, ordering 
him to leave the County in ten days. They then went on to the 
north end of the Twenty-five Mile Prairie, to the house of Luther 
White, and slicked him. The following is his own account of it, 
taken from his evidence before E. T. Major, Justice of the Peace : 

On the night of January 29, 1842, about half an hour after dark, Thomas J- 
Turk, Thomas Draffin, Robert Turk, Nathan Turk, N. Hamilton, Thomas Cox- 
Charles S. Brent, Samuel Brown, Isam Hobb.«, John Hobbs, and another Mr- 
Hobbs, whose name I ilid not know, Anslem Jackson, William Evans and Wil- 
liam Y. Evans, came to my house armed with guns and pistols. Thomas Cox 
said he wanted to get into my house, and I asked him who he was. He answered 
that his name was White. I told him that he could not get in. He swore he 
would get in if he had to break down the door. He said he believed that J had 
the Joneses there, hid in my house. I told him there was no person there but 
my own family. He then told me that he had nothing against me, that the 
Joneses were a set of liorse thieves, counterfeiters and murderers, and he believed 
that I had them hid in my house, and said to me "Mr. \Vhite let me in and you 
shall not be injured. We have nothing against you." 1 then opened the door 
and let Cox in, and he examined the house and found no one there but my family. 
He then took a chair and sat down by the fire, and told me that he and his com- 
pany had caught Thomas Meadows and given him three hundred lashes, and 
made him own that Andrew Jones had stolea three horses and three mules; and 
also, that they had caught William Brookshire. and had given him as many 
lashes as thev had given Meadows, and that they had made Brookshire own who 
had killed Hiriim K. Turk. I asked Cox who it was that had killed Hiram K. 
Turk. Pie said that Andrew Jones, Jaboz Harrison and Henry Hodge were in 
the bushes. He also told me they had caught Julius Sutlifi', and found a large 
quantity of counterfeit money on his person. He then got up and stepped to- 
wards the door, getting between me and the gun, where it was lying in the rack. 
He then presented his gun at me and cocked it, and put it against my breast, and 
called to the boys out side to break the door down quick. They then commenced 
kicking and knocking against the door. Cox told them to kick down the door, 

quick, that they would have the d d rascal. He gave the door a kick from 

the inside and broke a small chain with which it was fastened, and the door flew 
open. It opened on the out side of the house. They all then rushed in, and 
Thomas J. Turk drew out two pistols and cocked them, and said now we have the 

d d old news packer. Then as many of thera as could get a hold of me, took 

hold and carried me out of doors. They tied me and took me over to Samuel 
Browns and kept me there until they could get their supper. While there some 


of them roasted hickory withes saying they were for my old back. They then 
took me near half a mile on the State road, after they left Browns, to William 
Evans', and there stripped me of my clothes and tied me to a tree, and whipped 
me. Robert Turk struck me the first four or five licks, then a one eyed man that 
I did not know commenced, and struck twelve or fifteen licks with a switch. He 
then stopped about five minutes. The others told him that was not the way to 
do, and the one eyed man then commenced on me again. I think he struck me 
about twelve or fifteen licks with the switch and stopped. Thomas J. Turk then 

said, "lets kill the d d old son of a b h," and said that he wanted to blow 

my brains out. The one eyed man struck me four or five licks more and then 
they turned me loose, and told me to go home. They said they thought they had 
made an honest man of me, and told me to keep out of the company of the 
Joneses, and if I did not leave inside of ten days, that was nothing to what they 
would give me. I then went home. 

After slicking White they went to bed at the house of Judge 
Montgomery, and other houses in the neighborhood. By sunrise 
next (Sunday) morning they vpere at the house of John A. Whit- 
taker, vpho lived at the first house in the edge of the prairie on the 
road going from Warsaw^ to Springfield. They demanded of him 
to open his house to let them search for horse thieves, counter- 
feiters and murderers, and told him they were in search of Milton 
Humes and Jones. He refused to admit them until they promised 
not to hurt him. Finding no one but the family in the house, 
Tom Turk insisted on slicking him, saying he thought it was un- 
derstood before they came that he was to have a brushing. The 
others refused to consent and they ordered him to leave in ten 
days under severe penalties. A few days afterward they went to 
his house again, decoyed him out by pretending to be his friends, 
and gave him about thirty lashes. 

A few days after Meadows, Brookshire and White were whip- 
ped, Jabez L. Harrison was at Samuel Browns store, which was 
on the old road a short distance north of where Wheatland now 
stands. Old Mr. Cruce who stuttered badly was there, and seeing a 
company of men coming said to Harrison "y-yonder c-comes them 
s slickers. Y-y-you'd better 1-leave here, y-you d-d-damned r-ras- 
cal; t-they'll c-catch you and w-whip you to d-death." But he 
refused to go, and they took him off near Mr. Whitehead's house 
and gave hina a cruel lashing. In the language of my informant, 
they "cut him to the hollow." They afterwards said he had the 
tenderest skin of any man they slicked. It was at this time that 
they made him confess the plot to kill Hiram K. Turk. A few 
days after they were slicked, Brookshire and White, who were 
drinking men, met at Brown's store and while drinking got to talk- 



ing about being slicked. White asked Brookshire to let him see his 
back. Ou examining it lie said to Brookshire with, a lisp, that 
was habitual with him, "Wellth, Billy, they cuth my rindth a heap 
worse than they didth yourn." 

This was all the slicking that was done with the exception of 
Samuel Yates, who was slicked eighteen months afterwards near 
Warsaw. These slickiugs threw the whole County into excite- 
ment, and the feeling was so intense that the entire community 
took sides in sentiment with one party or the other, and many 
good citizens openly favored each side and gave them aid in their 
law suits. 

As soon as the slicking began the Jones party swore out war- 
rants before Squires Sampson Norton and Alex. Breshers, on 
Breshers' prairie, and Edward T. Major at Warsaw, against the 
Turk party, and had nearly all the prominent men bound over. A 
number of the Jones party were recognized as witnesses against 
them. The Turk party retaliated by swearing out warrants 
against several of the Jones party. Andy was bound over on a 
charge of stealing Jno. Woods' bull and killing him for beef at a 
Christmas frolic, a few days after he was acquitted of killing 
Hiram K. Turk. Arch. Cock and the Keatons were arrested on 
Jabez Harrison's testimony for conspiring to kill Hiram K. Turk. 
All through the months of February and March, 1842, the parties 
waged against each other a war of criminal prosecutions. The 
excitement had grown so great that the militia was called out, 
under the direction of Col. D. C. Ballou. Capt. John Holloway 
having had experience in the Black Hawk war, was in command 
in the field. A number of expeditions were made by the militia 
to make arrests. In executing the warrant against Andy Jones 
for stealing the bull, he was pursued through the north end of the 
Twenty-five Mile Prairie. He took refuge in the house of Horace 
Dark, and on Alex. Cox, a prominent Turk man, demanding of him 
to surrender, he fired at Cox and said he would have killed him 
had not his gun gone off too soon. He was bound over for this 
assault. A few days after, while the two parties were in Warsaw 
attending to examinations, Andy Jones drew his Gun on Cox 
again, in front of Walls old book store, then known as the "Duch 
Fort," it being a grocery kept by John Mayer and the headquar- 
ters of the Jones party. He was bound over for this assault also. 


During the excitement of these prosecutions, the two parties came 
to "Warsaw in companies, numbering near a hundred men each, 
fully armed. But strange to say no serious collision occured 
between them. On one occasion the Turks who had their head- 
quarters in what is now the Hastain House, fearing the Joneses 
were too strong for them, circulated the report that they had a 
cannon, and thursting an old stovepipe out at a window put the 
Joneses to precipitate flight. Many minor altercations took place 
in town at this time, and subsequently when law suits were going 
on. Thomas Howser, who sympathized with the Joneses, got into 
a quarrel with Hobaugh and Mackey, Turk men, cut Hobaugh and 
was shot by Mackey. Wm. Terry was attacked by Tom. Turk 
and Isam Hobles and knocked down with a club, in the old Dutch 
Fort. This house was the scene of nearly all their rows. 

After the slicking was over the Turks continued to scour the 
country, threatening to slick the Jones men, and ordering them 
out of the country. About this time Jacob Dobkyns was killed, 
but I am not able to fix the time of his death. The Turks were 
threatening to whip one Metcalf, who lived in the neighborhood 
of Quincy, and he requested several of his friends to spend the 
night with him, among others Dobkyns. During the night a shot 
was fired through a crack of the door, and Dobkyns instantly 
killed. It was reported that Eobert Turk fired the shot, intending 
to kill Metcalf. The threats of the Turks, together with the fact 
that the weight of public sentiment was against the Joneses^ 
drove the chief men among them out of the country, and when 
the April Court, 1842, came on they failed to appear, and their 
bonds were forfeited. This practically terminated the "Slicker 
War" proper, but a number of terrible tragedies growing out of it, 
took place during the next two years. 

At the April Court, 1842, Abraham C. Nowell was tried for the 
murder of James Turk and acquitted. During the following 
spring and summer, with the exception of an assault on Arch. 
Cock by Eobert Turk, June 20, but little violence prevailed. 
During this year and the next, occasional rumors would be circu- 
lated that the Joneses were in the country, and the Turks would 
organize and patrol the country, with considerable demonstrations 
of violence. 

The Turks had been dissatisfied with the acquittal of Nowell, 
who spent most of his time away from home. In October 1842, 


learning that he was at home they secreted themselves near his 
house, which was three miles north-west of Quincy, on the morn- 
ing of October 18th, to kill him. On coming out of his house 
early in the morning to get a bucket of water from a barrel in 
front of the door, he heard a gun fire and as he raised up to see 
whence the shot came, another gun fired and he received a bullet 
near his heart. He staggered back a few steps and fell dead in 
his door. Four men were seen to run off, and their places of am- 
bush were afterwards found. A daughter of Mr. Nowell, Mrs. 
John B. Lemon, is still living in this County, and from her I have 
obtained much information in regard to the Slicker War. 

From the killing of Nowell dates the division of the Turk 
men among themselves. It is said that Tom Turk fired first at 
Nowell, and that Isam Hobles fired the shot that killed him. 
Hobbs accused Turk of missing him on purpose in order to throw 
the killing of him on Hobbs. From this grew a bitter quarrel be- 
tween them, the particulars of which I have been unable to obtain, 
the indictments against them having been found in Polk County, 
and the records afterwards destroyed. It seems that the Turks 
and Hobbs lived, at this time, some distance beyond Quincy. 
Isam Hobbs was frequently indicted, in Polk, for assaults, and for 
gambling, as well as for murder. Tom. Turk was also probably 
indicted in Polk. While on his way to Bolivar, as a witness in some 
case, JefF. Hobbs was waylaid and killed. This was probably in 
1843. In the same year, perhaps, Thomas Draffin was found dead, 
shot through the head, the shot having entered at his mouth. The 
Turks buried him as quietly as possible, and reported that he had 
committed suicide. It was supposed however, that he had been 
murdered. It is known that he had sent a message to Mrs. 
Nowell, proposing to see her and tell her who it was that killed 
her husband, and it was supposed he was killed to prevent this 

In September 1843, it was reported that Andy Jones was in the 
country, and Tom. and Eobert Turk, and several of their principal 
followers, came down to Warsaw on the 19th. They rallied at the 
house of W. L. Vaughn, below Warsaw, with a number of citi- 
zens living in the vicinity of Warsaw. At night they went down 
the river and searched the houses of Elijah Cherry and one Don- 
aghe, who lived near where Gray Cook now lives. From there 


they went over to the house of Samuel Yates, who lived on the 
farm now owned by Mrs. Shaver. Deputy Sheriff John B. Fer- 
guson was along, with a writ for Jones. Yates refused to admit 
them, and the Sheriff becoming satisfied that Jones was not there, 
he and many others went home. But the Turks and others 
remained, and just before day, got Yates out of the house by 
promising not to hurt him. They tied him to a tree and gave him 
a severe whipping with a cowhide. In the struggle to tie him 
his wife seized a gun, and would have fired on them had she not 
been restrained by one of the company. Thirty-eight men includ- 
ing a number of most respectable citizens, were indicted for this 
affair; among others, Elijah W. Eamsey, Wm. L. Vaughn, Jona- 
than Martin, John B. Ferguson, George H. Hughes, George Blan- 
ton, James Walthall, James Thurman, Billington Johnson, Benj. 
H. Williams and Wm. Lankford. The case was dismissed as to 
most, of these, it being clear that they were not present, or not 
active participants. All the others were acquitted, except Jona- 
than Martin who was fined $23.10. He thinks he must have been 
fined because he was the only man who showed any mercy to 
Yates, having untied him. He appealed to the Supreme Court 
and the judgment against him was reversed. The Turks were in- 
dicted but never tried. A short time after, while Tom. Turk was 
returning from a blacksmith shop, where he had been to get his 
horse shod, preparatory to starting for Kentucky, he was way -laid 
by Isam Hobbs and shot dead. Hobbs was arrested, broke jail, 
and fled to Potosi, in S. E. Mo. ; was re-taken, again escaped from 
the Bolivar jail, fled to Tennessee and was riddled with bullets and 
instantly killed, in attempting to escape arrest there. 

Nathan Turk followed the Jones to Texas, and Andy Jones, 
Harvey White, Loud Ray, and perhaps others of the Jones party, 
were hung there, through his instrumentality, for horse stealing 
and killing friendly Indians. He himself was killed in an affray 
at Shrevesport. Soon after the death of Tom. Turk, his mother 
and her youngest son, Eobert, returned to Kentucky. She is said 
to have deeply deplored the violence of her sons and husband. 
Her share in this bloody drama is unwritten, but it is hard to con- 
ceive of a heavier burden of woe than fell to her lot. 



In 1840, Wm. Grizzle was tried on a change of venue from 
Pulaski County. He was indicted and found guilty of murder in 
the first degree and Sheriff Smith erected a scaffold for his execu- 
tion in the hollow, between the hills, a short distance south of Mr. 
E. S. Drake's house. A large concourse of people gathered to 
witness the execution, and the prisoner was on the scaffold, when 
a commutation by the Grovernor to imprisonment in the Peni- 
tentiary was produced. Judge Wright had received the commu- 
tation some days before, with instructions to hold it to the last 
moment, to see if he would not confess. He did confess to the 
killing some days before the day of execution, but his confession 
being coupled with the charge that he slew the man for improper 
familiarity with his wife, the commutation was carried into effect. 
Another account says he had killed a man with whose wife he had 
been unduly familiar, having waylaid him as he came from 

In 1844, a quarrel arose between Ben P. Major, a prominent 
lawyer, and at the time Slate Senator, and Elijah Cherry, who 
had been County Judge, and was a well-known citizen. The diffi- 
culty grew out of a political contest. They met on Main Street, 
became involved in a fight, and Cherry cut Major so that he died 
shortly afterwards. Cherry was acquitted. 

Another noted homicide was the killing of John H. Wilson by 
Thomas Coats, in 1845. Bad feeling arose between them at a 
party, at a hotel, and meeting afterwards on Main Street, a few 
hot words passed, and Coates stabbed Wilson, and killed him. 
Coates, also, was acquitted. 

I believe this was the last trial for a capital offense committed 
in the County, until after the war. Just before the war Haythorn- 
white was bound over for the murder of Vannoy, but he went off 
during the war, and was never tried. 


The most prominent name in the criminal annals of the County 
was that of Stephen H. Howser, commonly called Hogue Howser. 
He was a eon of Stephen A. Howser, the first settler at Warsaw. 

He was commonly supposed to have murdered Holloway on 

the plains, en route to California. He also killed a man named 
Farris, in Gasconade County, in 1853, was tried at St. Louis, and 
sentenced to the penitentiary in 1859, and pardoned. At the be- 
ginning of the war he had acquired a wide reputation as a lawless 
man. Soon after the war began he wantonly killed a man at 
Bolivar. Soon afterwards, as he rode out of town with Mr. D. D. 
Jones, he shot him dead in the road, at the corner of Mr. Powers' 
field. His motive is supposed to have been to get Jones' money. 
Ho was followed to Vernon County by some of our best citizens, 
and killed, while attempting to escape from a house in which 
they had surrounded him. 



In 1837, John H. Howard, who at first settled on the river 
below Warsaw, near where Mr. P. W. Duckworth now lives, moved 
to the farm now owned by the heirs of E. B. Cunningham, and 
established a ferry on the Pomme de Terre, at the upper end of the 
fiield, on the State road. The road then left the present road south 
of Mr. Albert Crabtree's, passed by the Cunningham house, and 
crossed the creek near the farm now owned by John H. Johnson. 
I think Jonathan Harris then lived on that farm. Mr. Harris and 
Mr. N. Campbell laid oif a town on their farms, and called it Fair- 
field, and had a post office, and perhaps some small business houses. 
In 1836 Judge Geo. Alexander obtained a license to keep a ferry, 
near his house, on the Osceola road, below where the bridge now 
stands. On the 8th of June, 1841, the County Court appointed D . 
C. Ballou and B. W. Keown to select a location for a bridge on the 
Pomme do Terre, with instructions to locate it between the cross- 
ing of the Springfield road and the crossing of the Osceola road. 
They reported Dec. 22d, 1841. The report was laid over, and 
seems never to have been acted on. October 18, 1843, an order 
was made, locating the bridge at Alexander & Cornwall's mill, 
Alexander, Cornwall and Elbert being judg'es. Thos. J. Bishop 
was appointed commissioner to contract for building it, and it was 
not to cost over ?2,000. July 15, 1844, the stone work was let to 
Capt, Jno. HoUoway, by order of court, at $2,486. Holloway 
completed his work March 1846, and was allowed $100 for extra 
work. The wood work, on a cheap plan, was first let July 15, 
1844, to Wilson C Foster, at $499. But the plan was afterwards 
changed, and the present plan, by Monroe Asbury, was let to 
Foster in May, 1845, at $1,622.66. He was paid $72.66 for extra 
work on completion of his contract in April, 1846. 

Soon after the bridge was let, a number of citizens of Alexan- 
der Township presented a petition to have the bridge built at 


Howard's ferry, where the town of Fairfield had been originally 
laid off. The court appointed Milton Kinkead, Stephen A. Howser 
and James P. Bone to examine and report on the advantages of 
the respective sites, and on their reporting in favor of the present 
site, the bridge was built there. 


From the close of the Slicker war, in 1844, till 1861, but few 
events of a remarkable nature occurred in the history of the 
County, and I shall only make brief mention of that period, in ad- 
dition to the allusion to it under the various heads of this sketch. 

The effects of the Mexican war, and the gold fever of 1849, 
were strongly felt in the County. The demand for live stock 
created by the war, and the emmigration to California, had a 
marked influence in raising prices, and giving activity to business, 
and, probably, did more than all other causes to bring relief from 
the stagnation caused by the crash of 1837. The organization of 
a company for the Mexican war is spoken of elsewhere. The Cali- 
fornia gold excitement was high here, as it was generally in the 
West. Many of our prominent men crossed the plains, some to 
stay for a short period, others with their families, intending to 
remain. A few made money, but it is doubtful whether the ma- 
jority would not have done better to have remained at home in 
their usual pursuits. 

The year 1849 is notable for the prevalence of cholera at War- 
saw. In June of that year James Blakey and William Peak re- 
turned from the South, where they had taken a drove of horses. 
On June 6th, Mr. Blakey, who was the husband of Mrs. Sarah B. 
Blakey, still liviog at Warsaw, was attacked with cholera, and died 
the next day. Mr. Peak was also attacked, and in a very short 
time died. Mr. Blakey's child and sister, Mrs. Ben. P. Major, Dr. 
Benson, Mr. Kidwell, and a colored man, also died. Several others 
had the disease, but recovered. Great excitement and alarm pre- 
vailed, and many people left town. The farmers were afraid to 
come to Warsaw, and business for some time was almost wholly 
suspended. I believe this is the only instance in which the cholera 
has ever visited the County. 



During the period now under consideration, (1844 to 1861,) 
considerable effort was made to improve the navigation of the 
Osage river. In 1839, an act was passed to establish a general 
system of internal improvements in the State of Missouri, and 
under this act Mr. Henry King surveyed the Osage River and 
made a report, which is published in the Senate Journal of 1840. 
The act was repealed in 1841, and I think no other work was done 
under it on the Osage. 

In 1847 an act was passed organizing the "Osage River Associ- 
ation," a company consisting of the counties along the river, and 
such individuals as might take stock in it. The counties were au- 
thorized to invest their road and canal, and internal improvement 
funds, in the association, and also to levy a tax for the improve- 
ment of the river. James W. Field, of Benton County, was ap- 
pointed director by the act, with power to organize the company. 
D. C. Ballou, who was in the legislature when the act was passed, 
was appointed director for Benton County by the County Court, 
in 1852. I think some work on the wing dams was done by this 
association, but how much I am unable to determine. 

By an act of February 14, 1855, this association was dissolved, 
and 850,000 was appropriated for work on the river. Sydney R. 
Roberts, of Linn Creek, James Atkinson, of Warsaw, and William 
L.Vaughn, of Osceola, were appointed commissioners to superin- 
tend the work. Under this act the last work on the river in Ben- 
ton County was done. Some work has since been done near the 
mouth of the river, under appropriations made by Congress, be- 
tween 1868 and 1872. Experience has demonstrated that the 
wing dam system of improvement, on which all the work has been 
done, is of no permanent benefit, but probably an actual injury to 
the navigation of the river. In 1847, 1849, 1868, 1870, 1871, 1873 
and 1874, memorials were passed by the Legislature, earnestly 
urging Congress to grant aid for the improvement of the Osage. 


Benton County participated to a large extent in the excitement 

growing out of the slavery contest in Kansas in 1855-59. In the 

summer of 1856, a most inflammatory proclamation was issued by 

Gen. Atchison, B. F. Stringfellow, and others, calling on Missouri- 


ans to rally and protect southern settlers in Kansas, In response 
to the call, a company of about 50 was raised at Warsaw, James 
McBlwrath, James E. Barkley, W". D. Barkley and Arnold B. 
Whipple being leading men. They joined Col. Eeid at West Port, 
in Jackson County, and marched on to Gen. Lane and John Brown's 
Free State forces at Lawrence. Through the intervention of the 
U. S. forces, both parties were disbanded, and the Benton County 
men returned home, after having been out about two weeks. 



I desired to ^ive an account of the orcranization of the first 
Churches in the County, but have been able to get correct infor- 
mation in only a few cases. 

I think the first Church ever organized in the County, was 
Antioch Church, of Primitive Baptists, which now worships, and 
has a neat building, on Xorth Prairie, four miles northwest of 
Cross Timbers, in Hickory County. It was organized at the 
house of Washington Young, in the Kichwoods, in 1833, Elders 
James Richardson and Elijah "Williams being the first ministers. 
The first members were James Dawson, John Potter, Daniel 
Lake, Elizabeth Lake, Xancy Young, Ann Foster, Nancy Hollo- 
way, Nellie Dawson and James Richardson. The preachers for this 
Church have been James Richardson, James H. Baker, Hezekiah 
Parker, Daniel Briggs, Marquis Monroe and Marcus "Walker. 

Another early Church was organized June 24, 1842. at the 
house of James H. Lay, on Little Tebo. Elder L. Elgin was the 
first preacher, and Marcellus F. Dunn, Meshac "Willis, James 
H. Lay, William Jean.^i. Jeremiah Bess and Josephus Gill the first 
members. This was the beginning of what was aftorwards known 
as Bethel Christian Church. Among the Ministers who have 
prenched at this Church, were Elgin, Heremond. D. de Jarnette, 
Allan Wright, Winthrop H. Hopson, Charles Carlton, McGarvey, 
and George W. Longan, the latter a man of rare ability and 
piety, having long been the chief support of the Church. A good 
house was built, but the congregation was broken up by the war, 
and no regular preaching has been had since. A few of the mem- 
bers still meet in the neighborhood occasionally for worship. 

I think that about the same time this Church was organized, 
another was organized by Elder Elgin, at Warsaw, which has 
continued, with many vicissitudes, to the present time. It built 
the brick Church known as the Christian Church, in War- 


saw, about 1855. Greo. W. Longan was also the chief spirit of this 

The Presbyterian Church, in Warsaw, was organized at an 
early day, — the exact time I have not ascertained. The brick 
Church was built about 1849. This Church, in its best days, was 
in charge of Rev. J. V. Barks, an able and most exemplary 

The Baptist Church in the Vinson neighborhood, near Lincoln, 
and Wesley Chapel, a Methodist Church, near the same place, 
were early Churches. Their members were scattered by the war, 
and solitude again broods among the forest trees which for years 
resounded with the songs of the early worshippers. 



In August, 1840, Mr. E. Cameron started the Osage Banner, a 
Whig paper, at Warsaw. It suspended in about nine months. 
The Osage VaVey, a Democratic paper, was started by Bevin & Co. 
(E. Cameron being the Co.), early in 1842. Bevin was an eccen- 
tric man, rode around the country with a large box of papers tied 
behind his saddle, seeking subscribers, became noted for his odd- 
ities, and finally, things not going to suit him, he walked into the 
river, on a cold day, up to his chin, with the purpose of drowning 
himself He thought better of it, however, and walked out again 
and left the country, his paper being suspended. In 1843 W. T. 
Yeomans started the Osage Yeoman, Democratic, and in the spring of 
1845 Cameron & Eitchie bought it out, and began to publish the 
Saturday Morning Visitor, neutral in politics. In 1848 its name was 
changed to the Warsaw Weekly Whig, and it was published as a 
Whig paper by E. Cameron & Co., Ritchey being the Co. About 
1850 Cameron went to Osceola, and Ritchey continued to publish 
the paper as the Democratic Review, until it was bought out by 
Murray & Leach, and published as the South West Democrat. The 
South West Democrat, at the beginning of the war, had attained a 
large circulation, and possessed as much influence as any paper 
in South West Missouri. Mark L. Means, who wielded a vigorous 
pen, did the chief political writing for it, and shaped public senti- 
ment to a large extent. The paper was a strong advocate of the 
Southern cause, until it was suspended by the enlistment of its 
proprietors in the Southern army. Mr. Leach was one of the 
first to fall in the war, being killed at Cole Camp. 

After the war, Messrs. Smith & Reed, in the fall of 1865, estab- 
lished the Warsaw Times as a Republican paper. It has beon 
published ever since by Mr. Smith, making its age over ten years, 
the greatest ever attained by any paper in the County. 

In 1866 Messrs Soyster & Edmondson began the publication of 
the Benton County Index, a Democratic paper. It suspended about 
1869. About 1870 F. D, Harkrider established the Benton County 
Democrat, and in 1872 sold it to Ben R. Lingle, who conducted it 
till 1874, and sold to Messrs. Woodbury. They sold to C. H, 


Lucas, in 1875. It passed from him into the hands of a company, 
and is now conducted as the Democratic Press, by Jas. R. Jones 


WAR OF 1861. 

To the war of 1861, I propose to make only a very general 
allusion. Its events are yet too recent to admit of a narration of 
details, witheut reviving memories which should sleep. 

At the breaking out of the war, most of the prominent poli- 
ticians of the County were southern men. The Southwest Demo- 
crat, an influential paper, espoused the southern cause with great 
vigor. When the news of the attack on Fort Sumter came, the 
wildest excitement prevailed, and two companies were soon organ- 
ized at Warsaw, under the state law, for resistance to the Federal 
government. The first, called the Grays, was commanded by Capt. 
O'Kane, a graduate of West Point; the second, called the Blues, 
by Dr. Stephen F. Halo, an old resident of the County. After 
the attack on Camp Jackson at St. Louis, they were called to 
Jefferson City by Gov. Jackson, but soon returned. In the mean- 
time the Germans around Cole Camp, who were universally loyal, 
organized as Home Guards, and camped at the barns of Henry 
Heisterberg and Harmon Harms, about two miles east of Cole 
Camp. They numbered several hundred, and were commanded by 
Capt. A. H. W. Cook. The Warsaw companies had received re- 
ports that the Home Guards were preparing to march on Warsaw, 
and on the evening of June 18, 1861, they forestalled them by 
marching out to Cole Camp. One or more companies from Henry 
County were co-operating with them. Their movements were 
made so quietly, that about dawn on the morning of the 19th, they 
attacked the barns and took the Home Guards by surprise. They 
were generally asleep until awakened by the fire of the assailants. 
Being untrained militia, and thrown into confusion by the sudden- 
ness of the attack, they made but little resistance, but fled in all 
directions. It is said that from fifty to one hundred were killed in 
the attack and pursuit. I think the exact number who fell was 
never known. The Warsaw companies lost six men — Jno. H. 


Leach, editor of the Democrat, A. B. Whipple, a lawyer, Eice 
Howser, post master at Warsaw, Wm. Gill, Allen Kemper and 
George Teft. The affairs at Boonville and Camp Jackson, which 
occurred about the same time, are of much greater notoriety, but 
the Cole Camp battle was a more bloody contest than either of 

A few days after the fight, Gov. Jackson's forces came through 
Warsaw from Boonville, in retreat before Gen. Lyon. The War- 
saw companies followed south ; were in the battles at Carthage 
and Wilson's Creek, and returned to Warsaw in August, soon affer 
the latter battle. After the attack on Lexington, the southern 
forces were compelled to retreat before Gen. Freemont's army, in 
the fall of 1861, and the County remained under the control of the 
Union men till the close of the war, with the exception of occa- 
sional raids and bushwhacking expeditions. 

Some time in the winter of 1861-2, Gen. Ed. Price, son of Gen. 
Sterling Price, came through the County with a large force of re- 
cruits, and camped at Warsaw at night. During the night he was 
overtaken by a force of Federals and captured, at the house of 
Judge Wright. His men were on the south side of the river and 

In the year of 1862, the enrolled Militia and Missouri State Mi- 
litia were organized, and a detachment of one of these organiza- 
tions was generally stationed in the County. In September, 1863, 
Shelby came through the county, on his raid, and gave the Militia 
and citizens of Warsaw a general stampede ; supplied himself with 
goods at the stores, tore out the records of the County that had 
been made under Union jurisdiction, and hastened on to the Mis- 
souri river. 

At the time of Price's retreat from Missouri, in the fall of 1864, 
several hundred of his men came through this County, shot Jas. 
D. Perkins, the Circuit Attorney, in the streets of Warsaw, and on 
their way out, through the Richwoods, killed other citizens. In the 
spring of 1865, a small band, on its way from the south, came 
through the southern part of the County and killed several citi- 
zens ; came to the river bank, opposite Warsaw, exchanged a few 
shots with the citizens, but passed on to the Missouri river with- 
out attempting to enter the town. One of them, named Hill, was 
arrested in Lafayette County, and put in the Warsaw jail, but was 
taken out in the night and shot. 


The above leading events, very inadequately, represent the con- 
nection of the people of Benton County with the war. While 
some lives were lost, and much property taken by the organized 
forces of both sides, the people of the County suffered chiefly from 
the lawlessness which resulted from the war. Evil disposed per- 
sons made a pretense of espousing either side for the purpose of 
plunder, or of wreaking private malice. The insecurity of pro- 
perty and of life, became so great that a large portion of the best 
citizens left their homes. Many peaceable citizens were killed, 
houses aud fencing were burned, and the ordinary course of "busi- 
ness, to a great degree, suspended. Farmers ceased all kinds of 
improvement, and many improved farms lay idle. Lands were 
sold at ruinous prices, or abandoned unsold. But the return of 
peace soon revived the energies of the people, and the population 
and wealth of the County in a short time exceeded what it was 
before the war. 


I have thus spoken of the more important events in the history 
of the County to a time still fresh in the memory of the present 
inhabitants. The want of time, the difficulties of giving an im- 
partial account of events so recent, and the little necessity, as yet, 
for committing an account of this later time to writing, warn me 
to stop at this point. 

What I have written is only one feature, and a minor one, of 
the history of the County — its public life. Its private life, which 
is its real history, is too infinite in its details for narration. The 
parting from friends, and the early associations of childhood; the 
tedious journey to the land of hope in the west; the solitude of 
the camp fire, and the cabin in the wilderness ; the struggle with 
poverty, toil and disease ; the weary pining for the old home ; the 
loss of husbands, wives and children in a land of strangers ; the 
discouragement and return of some, the perseverance and better 
fortune of others ; the melting of the forest before the axe of the 
pioneer; the spread of bountiful fields; the erection of comfort- 
able, and in many cases, of beautiful homes ; of churches and 
school houses ; the formation of new ties in place of the old ones ; 
the growth of a generation for whom this has the sacred associa- 
tions of fatherland — all this is the chief history of Benton County, 
but is too endless to be written in a general sketch. "Happy are 
the people whose annals are dull." 


Sept. 1831. 

Charles H.Allen. 
Foster P. Wright. 
Waldo P. Johnson. 
Dewitt C. Ballou. 


Feb. 1S59. 

Foster P. Wright- 
Burr H. Emerson. 
William S. Shirk. 


183S. Llttleberry Hendricks. 

1*10. George Dixon. Resigned in 1&43. 

IS13. Mark L. Means. Vice Diion. 

ISW. Thomas Ruffin. 

1*1S. Waldo P. Johnson. 

1S52. Burr H. Emerson. 

1856. Thomas W. Freeman. 

1S58. Thomas W. Freeman. 

1S60. Alexis Wamsley, 

1862. James D. Perkins. 





Washington Galland- Vice Per- 

David P. Shields. Vice Galland. 

Samuel S. Burdett. Vice Shields. 

William S. Shirk, Vice Bordett. 

James Masters. 

William S. Shirk. Office abol- 

Dee Reese.- County Attorney. 

Augustus C. Barry " 



Zachariah Fewell, 
Joseph C. Montgomery. 
Samuel H. Whipple. 
Samuel H. Whipple. 
Dewitt C. Ballou. 
Dewitt C. Ballou. 
Dewitt C Ballon. 
Burr H. Emerson. 
James Atkisson. 
A. G. Blakey. 
A. G. Blakey. 




Samuel Parks. 
Dewitt C. Ballou. 
Richard H. Melton. 
Richard H. Melton. 
John Cosgrove 
John H. Bohn. 
John H. Bohn. 
H. D. Heimsath 
Samuel Parks. 
James H. Lay. 
9, 1?75. 

Died Jan. 19, 1875. 
Vice Parks, Feb. 





185 (. 

Joseph C. Montgomery. John W. Lindsey and William White. Appointed by 
Gov. Daniel Dunklin. ,. , . 

John W. Lindsev, William White. George Alexander. Judge LlndBey died In 
1.^40. and Stephen A. Howser was appointed to fill the vacancy till the 
Aug. election. . . 

George Alexander. Elijah Cherry, Nathan Huff. Judge Cherry resigned Aug. 
15, 1812, and Adamson Cornwall was appointed to fill the vacancy. 

George Alexander, Adamson Cornwall and Henry Y. Elbert. 

Adamson Cornwall, Joel B. Holbert and Markham Fristoe. Hickory County 
being organized in 1*15, and Judge Holbert living in that County, ceased to 
be Jud-e. Judge Cornwall died on the bench. Burr H. Emerson becanie 
Judge Tn 1S45, in place of Judge Holbert, by appointment of Gov. John C. 

George W. Rives, Samuel Parks, Henry L. Hicks. 

George W. Rives, Alexander Ritchey, Edward T. Major. 

George W. Rives, Edward H. Powers, and James G. Vinson. 

George W. Rives, Markham Fristoe, Joshua G. Phillips. 


I860. Markham Fristoe, Joshua G. Phillips, Stephen H. Davis. Ousted by conveu- 

tion of 1862. 
1862. Elemelech S. Drake, David Kidwell and Thomas Jackman. Judge Drake 

resigned, and Harrison H. Ham took his seat as successor, on Jan. 26,1863. 
1866. Harrison H. Ham, Daniel Freund, Joseph Monroe. 
1868. Joseph Monroe, Daniel Freund and Sewell W. Smith. 
1870. Joseph Monroe, Seweh W. Smith, Peter E. Holtzen. 
1872. Sewell W. Smith, Peter E. Holtzen, Stephen H. Davis. 
1874. Peter E. Holtzen, Stephen H. Davi.s and George Gallaher. 


1867 to 1876. Harrison H. Ham, Probate Judge. 


1835. Thomas J. Bishop. 
Jan. 1&54. Henry F. Burns. 
Dec. 1854. Edward T.Major. Ousted by 
Convention in 1862. 
1862. Benjamin F. Bibb. Deputies. 
F. A.Hanford, Willis C. HaU, 
R. H. Bibb, Morris Foster 
and A. Tillotson. 

1866. Myron L. Stratton. 

1870. Myron L. Stratton. Died 

July, 1871. 
July 27, 1871. Jas. R. Jones. Vice Strat- 

1871. Eli T. Rhea. Vice Jones. 
1874. Eli T Rhea. 


Same as Circuit Clerks up to 1866. 
1866. David E. Fields. 


Stewart C. Stratton. 
Stewart C. Stratton. 


Same as County Clerks up to 1867. 
July 8, 1867. David E. Fields. | Nov. 22, 1873. Wilson H. Stratton. 




Markham Fristoe. 

Stephen A. Howser, Collector. 

Adamson Cornwall. 

James W. Smith. 

James W, Smith. Resigns Aug. 
15th, 1842. H. L. Williams, ap- 

Harvey L. Williams. 

Bartholomew W. Keown. 

Bartholomew W. Keown. 

Abraham Sally. 

Seth B. Howard. Died in 1854. J. 
C. Arthur succeeded him, April 

21, 1854. 

1854. John C. Arthur. 

18.56. John G. Arthur. 

18.58. Bartholomew W. Keown. 

1860. Bartholomew W. Keown. 

1862. John A. Baldwin. 

1884. Samuel Webb. 

1866 Harrison Mitchell. 

1868. Harrison Mitchell. 

1870. Mathew Pierce. 

1872. Mathew Pierce. 

1874. George Hooper, Sheriff. 

1874. Edward R. Powers, Collector. 


Feb. 18, 1835. 
Apr. 22, 1839. 

July 31, 1840. 
Oct. 1844. 

Oct. 25, 1849. 
Aug. 1860. 

John Holloway. 

Samuel H. Whipple. Re- 
signed July 13, 1840. 

James A. Brown. 

Horace H. White. Resign- 
ed Oct. 23, 1849. 

Jno. S. Lingle. 

Joseph S. Atkisson. Re- 
signed March 2. 

Mch. 2, 1861. 

Feb. 1876. 

James E. Barkley. 
James ISpencer. 
John N. Dunn. 
Nicholas S. Gardner. 
Jerome D. Briggs, 
Robert T. Sill. Resigned 

Feb. 1876. 
Arthur S. McGowan. Vice 





16, 1*15. 

ITngh M. Doiiaghe. 


7, 1837. 

James W. Smith. 


Jobn Graham, Sr. 

18 W. 

John Graham, Sr. 


Meredith Bowmer. 


Mereditli Bowmer. 


Montgomery Wright. 


Meredith Bowmer. 


Meredith Bowraer. 


Montgomery Wright. 


Willis Jones. 


Alexander H. Russell. 


County assessed by Dis- 
trict Assessors. 


7, 1860. 

James W.Taylor appointed 


1835. Jesses F. Royston. 


1835. C 

P. Bullock. Resigned 1838. 

1S3'J. I) 

. C. Ballou. 

1840. James Blakemore. 

1844. James Blakemore. 

1845. Sardis D. Baldwin. Resigned 

Aug. 24, 1847, 

to serve till August elec 

1860. William B McElwrath. 
1862. Henry Hubbard, resigned 

August 22. 1864. 
1864. Jacob Freund appointed 

August 22. 
1864. Jacob Freund. 
1866. Jacob Freund. 
1868. Jacob Freund. 
1870. Jacob Freund died. 
Dec. 2, 1S71. Jas. R. Jones appointed, 
vice Freund. 
1872. Willis Jones. 
1874. Alpheus G. Huse, 

1848. John S. Llngle. 

1854. John A. Baldwin. 

1864. John A. Baldwin- 

1868. James A. Harvey. 

1872, A. M. Mclntyre, 

♦Possibly this list is incomplete. 


Mar. 19, 1844. 
Mar. 18, 1845. 



James M. Blakey, resigns. 
James H. Lay. Ousted by 

Convention of 1S62. 
George I. Shepherd. 
Elemelech S. Drake. 

1SC6. John H. Bohn, 

1870. George Hooper. 

1872. Preston W. Duckworth. 

lf-74. John F. Mahnken. 










1856 6.789 

1880 +9,072 

1864 4,975 

1868 8,519 

1870 11,322 

♦This falling off was occasioned by the cutting off of about one-third of the 
County into Hickory, 
t State census for 1860, 9,021. 

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